Reviews

John Garcia – The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues – Review

5 out of 10

John Garcia who many claim to be the embodiment of ‘stoner rock’ is set to release his sophomore record The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues on the 27th of January. This follows on three years from his debut album John Garcia, although this solo venture isn’t his only musical endeavor having hailed from bands such as Kyuss and Slo Burn. One thing does clearly stick out between the debut solo album and this new record, that being the fact that it is a completely acoustic album. Without further ado let’s break down this Sophomore album.

Opening up this record by John Garcia is Kylie and with a blistering introduction of instrumentation that feels like it has been ripped straight out of a spaghetti western film it does give a great feeling to this album from the off set. Then after a few moments Garcia’s vocal performance kicks in and at first it feels to cut through abruptly but soon feels to bring a new level of roughness to the track which is needed before the song drops off to its slower middle section. As a first track it does show a lot of promise for the rest of the album but does in comparison to the rest of the album feel like the weakest track on this release.

Following on are the tracks Green Machine and Give Me 250ML which do help the album from not sinking in to too deep water. First off with Green Machine, with it’s slower instrumentation and calmer vocals there is a sense of more peace along with this acoustic project, and with the more plucked accompaniment to Garcia’s voice there is a greater overall composition that goes with the track. This soon is changed with the intro to Give Me 250ML as the riff that intros the song it soon gets the head bobbing but then again come in the abrupt vocals that cut through the track. This also isn’t to say the track is bad as there are times these two combine beautifully and create a few moments of brilliance.

Following is a rally of three tracks. The Hollingsworth Session, Space Cadet and Gardenia. Starting off this trio is The Hollingsworth Session which is a very well constructed song in terms of both instrumentation and vocals, and with the beautifully orchestrated acoustic composition it is a track which is nice to listen to with it’s small intricate notes and well presented vocal performance. Following is what is truly the strongest track on this release, Space Cadet, during this number it is clear in terms of both instrumentation and vocal performance that everything has come together perfectly, despite it taking this long in to the album it is a great moment to just listen to as both vocals and instrumentation work seamlessly well together.

The final act in this trio is Gardenia. It’s a close contender for being the strongest song, but does miss something that Space Cadet had. This song is one of the slowest on the album and with subtle musical additions, like the minimal triangle and piano the song does show itself to have many different levels before it moves swiftly on to its final quarter in which we get this banjo and guitar outro.

El Rodeo and Argleben II follow on as the album starts towards it’s close. With El Rodeo there is this opening motif of stringed instruments hitting singular notes in quick succession which oddly feels dis-connected to the song completely, which is a shame as the addition would have been interesting to listen to, but soon the song kicks in to full swing and yet again shows itself to be of a higher caliber than what is situated before this.  As the song powers through with yet more well crafted acoustic instrumentation the song seems to almost end out of nowhere. This brings John Garcia’s album to Argleben II which is a great start to the albums ending as it is ending strong in both vocal performance from John Garcia himself but also instrumentally as the intricate riffs that sit in the overall composition work well together and with more subtle additions like the piano there is a great sense that everything is coming together beautifully for a powerful closer.

This brings the album to it’s close with the final track Court Order which is a great juxtaposition to the opener on this sophomore record, as with it’s slower instrumentation and lack of vocals it is the first songs complete polar opposite and is truly possibly one of the strongest moments on the record as with it’s well crafted and presented instrumental structure the switch between riffs and tone halfway through are easy to listen to. The only thing bringing this particular track down is the run time, there could have been more to offer with this track which does seem to end too soon.

Overall this album is a good listen, with some well constructed acoustic instrumentation and moments of vocal brilliance there are many highlights that can be found for fans of acoustic and psychedelic rock alike. However for what has been a three year wait for many John Garcia fans there doesn’t always seem to be enough on The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues to help warrant more than a couple of spins, despite the pleasant instrumentation and occasional flourishes of vocal prowess this album still does fall short.

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