The Kyuss Lives! reunion was meant to be joyous. Despite Josh Homme’s refusal to be a part of it, John Garcia, Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri and finally Bruno Favery, playing Homme’s parts, embarked on an incredible tour which was possibly the last one I got proper merry to before parenthood made its presence felt. For many who never got to see Kyuss in their heyday, this was as close as it could get to the real thing, with 3/4 of the original line-up jamming out classics from ‘Blues for the Red Sun’ and ‘Welcome to Sky Valley‘ making for practical stoner heaven in 2011. Then it got ugly. Homme and Scott Reeder, at one point deputising in the reunion for a trial-bound Oliveri, sued the other members and the Kyuss name got dragged through the mud. Seemingly it centered on the reunited band seeking to use the Kyuss Lives! name for studio material and thus profiting from it. Regardless of however popular it made Homme in light of his proceedings, he had a point, and so the Kyuss Lives! party came to an end, the Kyuss name tarnished not by the music, but through judicial action.
And so, the reunion returned to wilt in the hot desert sun. And like the proverbial phoenix, Garcia, Bjork, Oliveri and Favery rose up, under the name of Vista Chino, and thus the most simple solution to this mess – a name change – was found. The debacle was resigned to the past, and it therefore seems appropriate that the latest album in the Kyuss family lineage should be entitled ‘Peace‘. Enough of the shit-stirring, let’s see if the group still sound as good now as it did in the 90’s. The surprising answer is yes, absolutely. ‘Peace’ is a cracking return from a group whose members’ best days are often considered behind them. That it does more than enough to step out that large shadow is something else.
Vista Chino – Dargona Dragona
True, it doesn’t do away with that old skin completely, as ‘Dargona Dragona’ brings back shades of 1991 all over again. A simple no-brainer, to remind people of that era is as much as you’d expect from the seasoned veterans of the desert scene. The hot glow of the sun seems to shine ever brighter though, as ‘Peace‘ rumbles on. ‘Planets 1 & 2’ is phenomenal, Bjork handling Planet 1’s vocals and Garcia coming back for part 2, a brilliant reminder of the excellence they first showed in the 90’s, yet the first mark that Vista Chino steps out and casts its own shadow, is the seductive 70’s groove of ‘Adara’, followed by the jam band indulgence of ‘Dark and Lovely’, and the whopping stoner worship of the 13 minute ‘Acidize…The Gambling Moose’. Never mind what went before it – Vista Chino Lives!