Album review: JOHN GARCIA – John Garcia

JOHN GARCIA – John Garcia

Napalm Records – Out Now.

I have to admit that I was initially quite puzzled by the idea of John Garcia releasing a solo album at this moment in time. Why?

Well, since the mighty Kyuss decided to disband in October 1995, this massively gifted frontman has managed to keep himself musically active through various different projects, with Vista Chino (ex Kyuss Lives!) being the closest that one can get these days to experiencing a vibe and feel similar to that of the Californian Stoner Rock legends.

The more I listened to “John Garcia” the more I realised that the purpose of this eleven track release was to enable its creator to indulge in free flowing Rock’n’Roll tunes that are less associated with his glorious past – a goal that he managed to achieve with help from a bunch of high profile friends.

Owner of a naturally amplified voice, Garcia is required to put the minimal of efforts in order to make his presence felt in any musical collaboration, present one included. The success or failure of this album, then, was solely dependent in the ability of the guitars to provide melodies and rhythmical themes fitting to John’s style and vocal abilities – a goal which seems to have been achieved with relevant ease here.

Heavily-distorted and predominantly mid in tempo, the riffs on offer may ooze the hot breeze of the Californian desert but also owe a lot to Delta Blues for inspiration while Nik Oliveri’s (note: ex-Kyuss / Queens Of The Stone Age) fat bass lines are commanding and addictive in equal terms, ensuring that listening to this straight-forward and melody-driven album would be nothing other than a truly enjoyable experience.

Garcia’s special compositional skills are clearly audible in the opening track “My Mind”, as only a few songs as simple and direct as this one can manage to achieve such a strong effect on a listener.

Groovier in feel but equally simple in structure “Rolling Stoned” finds the singer marginally winning the competition against Oliveri’s meaty bass lines, leaving the much experienced bassist to acquire his revenge in the rhythmical follow-up “Flower”.

Much slower in tempo and filled with beautiful Blues-influenced melodies “The Blvd” finds Garcia is reflecting mood, unleashing all the angst and frustration accumulated soon after, in the powerful three and a half minute opus “5000 Miles”.

“Confusion” and “Argleben” are two enjoyable but quite ‘inoffensive’ compositions but sandwiched between them is the melodic and bass-driven “His Bullets Energy” which manages to gain back some of the momentum lost in the process.

“Saddleback” and “All These Walls” are fairly short affairs but filled with positive energy and attitude while the closing acoustic guitar led composition “Her Bullets Energy” finds Garcia fulfilling a childhood fantasy by sharing his compositional skills with one Robby Krieger of The Doors fame – a career highlight for any self-respecting Rock’n’Roll artist.

Even though fans of Kyuss will undoubtedly find many things to love about “John Garcia”, this eleven track release does not serve the purpose of enabling its creator to further connect with his glorious past.

Simple in structure and driven by soulful guitar melodies and monstrous bass lines, Garcia’s first solo effort is an exercise if simplicity and emotional – one that I’m sure that you yourselves will be most willing to undertake once you realise the benefits on offer.

John Stefanis

Rating: **** (4.0/5.0)

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.

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