Shakespeare’s famous heroine Juliet Capulet asks in the infamous play ‘Romeo and Juliet’ “what is in a name?” – well if she were to ask this question to John Garcia and Brant Bjork she probably would have met her death a lot sooner than Shakespeare intended. It’s been a rough few years for these guys with seemingly endless lawsuits, side projects, name changes and hissy fits from various ex-Kyuss members over the use of what is now a household name in stoner rock. The pluckiest band members are back with a record that is essentially Kyuss to its core in all but name.
Garcia’s vocals are on the higher end of the pitch spectrum and the overall production is incredibly lo-fi, but it works to the band’s advantage. The long passages, psychedelic riffs and song titles (‘Acidize The Gambling Moose’ say what?) are all what you’d expect from these guys and there are really no surprises lurking anywhere. This a stripped-down back to basics approach to desert rock that’s heavy on the fuzz.
The spaced-out passages on ‘Planets 1 & 2’ is in need of a serious fat trimming and the instrumental tracks are completely irrelevant to the rest of the album, however, Brant proves his worth as a drummer on ‘Sweet Remain’ and they begin to break away from their past associations – although not entirely. This is a shaky first effort but to be expected as it’s the first solid release the pair have released since Kyuss crashed and burned back in ’95.
It is pretty much impossible to enter into listening to this with a clear unbiased mind, but if you separate the old from the new, this is a worthwhile opus, missing some meat off the bones, but a whole lot of fun to listen to.
(6/10 Angela Davey)