Wednesday 25 January 2017

John Garcia - The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues (Album Review)

Release date: January 27th 2017. Label:Napalm Records: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues – Tracklisting

1. Kylie
2. Green Machine
3. Give me 250 mL
4. The Hollingsworth session
5. Space Cadet
6. Gardenia
7. El Rodeo
8. Argleben II
9. Court Order


Well, this new year of reviews could not start better.

I had the chance to listen and review the very first acoustic album of John Garcia, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues, released by Napalm Records. John does not need any introduction. John is THE voice of the desert and of an entire generation (and maybe more) of artists who have found to deal with giants as Kyuss, Vista Chino, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano and so on. Anything John has done since the days of Kyuss was a masterpiece, nothing more, nothing less. Thus, you will excuse me if this review will be anything but impartial.

The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues is a very intimate experience of the artist, floating between new songs and classics (revisited) Kyuss masterpieces, such as Green Machine, Space Cadet, Gardenia, El Rodeo. In this adventure, John Garcia was accompanied by the guitar of Ehren Groban (War Drum), the bass of Mike Pygmie (Mondo Generator, You Know Who) and the percussions of Greg Saenz (the Dwarves, You Know Who).

The album opens with Kylie, which moves between lively atmosphere broken by moments of greatest insight enclosing a romantic soul when, about halfway, the song slows down and fills with more intimate atmosphere, thanks also to the use of synths. Although the second track of the album is a classic of Kyuss, Green Machine, I would go ahead and leave later my comments on the revisited songs from the Kyuss era. Give Me 250ml, the second unreleased of the album, reminds me to a kind of country/blues Western song, while The Hollingsworth Session dates back to more dynamic atmosphere seasoned by the use of piano. Argleben II and Court Order, the last two unreleased of the album, show the more thoughtful and relaxed acoustic side of the songwriting, where slower rhythms transmit feelings of melancholy and distension.

But...go back to the old glories of Kyuss, totally revisited in their acoustic version. Well, I never thought these songs could be so rearranged as to seem, in some cases, completely different songs. When in late 1992 the Kyuss released Blues From The Red Sun, Green Machine, the second track written by Brant Bjork was undoubtedly one of the reference songs of the album. When in the same year it was released as single, the back of the CD case said that “[...] They [aka Kyuss, nds] certainly look like something straight out of a worn promo shot of crazed sixties decibel barbarians, Blue Cheer and sound that almost unbelievably [sic] at times like a street punk version of the original Black Sabbath”.

Well, the acoustic version of Green Machine is something completely different. The skill of John in rearrange the old glories of Kyuss made Green Machine a slow and deeply intimate song that, at least in my case, excited enough to make me shudder. All remaining tracks move in the same direction, and it was nice to see songs spanning from Blues For The Red Sun to ...And The Circus Leaves Town.

The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues is, certainly, an album that old fans will love for its ability to evoke the desert atmospheres that many years ago came as a bolt from the blue, upsetting many of us. At the same time, younger generations will appreciate the true meaning of stoner/desert music, which goes behind tuning in drop C. It is a matter of attitude.

Words by Bruno Bellisario

Thanks to Mona and Andy at Napalm Records for the promo. The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Napalm Records from January 27th 2017.