It is amusing to see a band that has been through so many ups and downs in previous years name their debut album Peace. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about or who Vista Chino even are, here’s a quick history lesson:
Vista Chino is a stoner rock back from Los Angeles, California. They were formed in 2010 featuring all the original members of the infamous Kyuss band minus Josh Homme. Using the name Kyuss Lives! they set out on what was intended to be a short tour performing all of Kyuss’ original material. However, in 2012 the band decided they would continue touring and began work on a studio album under the name Kyuss Lives! A lawsuit followed this announcement by ex-band mates Josh Homme and Scott Reeder prohibiting use of the Kyuss Lives! moniker for all recordings. This prompted the name change to Vista Chino.
Yet, it seems that these artists have experienced more than one hiccough with colleague Josh Homme. In a previous interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Brant Bjork admitted to hostility in the group in the early 1990s. It seems that the need for creative control is what tore Kyuss apart with certain individuals wanting to take the group in different directions.
In May of 2013, Vista Chino signed with the independent rock label Napalm Records. The very same day they released a single to the online public via SoundCloud, ‘Dargona Dragona’ – a catchy stoner rock song with heavy Uriah Heep and Deep Purple influences. While it is an upbeat song with solid drums and bass, this is not a happy tune. John Garcia’s gruff vocals present an anger and air of desperate distaste which can only be assumed to have Homme as their target. The lyrics ‘I know what you are/I know it so bad’ can only further support this point. It’s a case of what were you thinking and how could you do this to us?
This album is a carefully constructed piece of work with strong basslines intertwined with guitar riffs and expertly timed vocals. While the band may be disheartened by previous events, Peace can be seen as their rebirth with ‘As You Wish’ talking about a rise of the phoenix. Yet, it is ‘Planets 1 & 2’ which details their movement from rage to revival masterfully.
The 6 minute track is orchestrated to illustrate a deliberate separation between two spheres of being – Planet 1 and Planet 2. Planet 1 is a livelier, harder tune where Garcia informs us that the war is finally over and you must deny the urge to hate. Planet 1 is a land of control and of pent-up rage.
Planet 2 enters at approximately 3 minutes after a slow, singular guitar reverb which enters into a very slow and steady almost ‘funeral march’ type tune. The constancy of Nick Oliveri’s bass and Brant Bjork’s drums make you realise something has happened and you have left the latter realm. Planet 2 is a place of pain and war where one has lost control of the rage within. It is here that they have expressed their inner turmoil and will receive what they deserve. However, it is the lyric ‘breathe from the pain’ that leads me to believe this is a song of rebirth and not retribution.
Peace is not a song about a physical war but rather one of emotional turmoil and gaining inner peace from accepting the rage. Of course, there is that little ‘up yours’ element making Vista Chino a band singing out of spite but this is potentially what makes Peace a brilliant break-up album. What is better for a heartbroken, hopeless and hateful individual than a little bit of stoner rock?
Official track list:
1. Good Morning Wasteland
2. Dargona, Dragona
3. Sweet Remain
4. As You Wish
5. Planets 1 & 2
7. Mas Vino
8. Dark and Lovely
10. Acidize – The Gambling Moose