John Garcia - s/t - Download (2014)

Labels: Napalm
Review by: Alex Deller

While I have infinite love for Kyuss and would rank the Slo Burn EP and first Unida LP as some of the best pure RAWK of the 90s, John Garcia’s post-‘Coping…’ output (including the second, technically unreleased Unida album) never really gelled with me. The right parts and elements were often there, but I felt the music often failed to match matched Garcia’s formidable set of pipes. This, the fella’s first solo album, is still a somewhat imperfect thing but goes some way at least towards redressing the balance. Vocally, Garcia remains a force to reckon with, his jungle cat growl the aural equivalent of a slowly throbbing dick vein. He’s on hale and hearty form, bellowing out the WOH-MAHNs and the BAY-BEEs as well as pretty much any 70s rock god you’d care to mention, and if the songs don’t possess the hazily spiritual qualities of Kyuss or the gung-ho chutzpah of Unida they still work pretty darn well in their own right. Initially, though, the music appears to be the fatal chink in the armour. In terms of classic riffage, things weighs in light. Many riffs sound like things I might have fumbled out as a teenager trying to figure out my favourite ‘In Search Of…’ moments. With repeated listens, though, it all begins to make sense. The stripped-down nature of the music and the simplicity of the riffs don’t necessarily equate to the mantric highs of AC/DC, but they nevertheless take on a pleasurable pulse that allows those vocals to take centre stage and you to lock in for repeated listens.