John Garcia – The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues

Following up on his 2014 self-titled solo debut album, John Garcia’s new release will probably have most people expecting some desert rock, particularly due to its cover art and title. And yet, while the songs of The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues do share qualities with desert and stoner rock, those links don’t come in the form of thick-reverbed bass, fuzzed guitar, and weed-fueled lyrics.

Instead, it’s more in the way that that grunge had the stoner association, as things like “Hey man!” and serial repetition of a single word or phrase tumble into the lyrical flow, with an attitude of ‘fuck it, man,’ shaping the energy. In execution, though, the music is more like folk, and while that description may have some metal fans’ interest shutting down immediately, the reality of the songs is naturally more complex than first impressions.

In the light-handed production work, acoustic guitars, and lone vocals, there are strains of prog, blues, and hard/heavy rock, sort of like a one-man version of Broughton’s Rules, for (very) rough comparison, or Leo Kottke channeling Stone Temple Pilots‘ verse arrangements and level of guitar complexity. Admittedly, I’m mainly thinking of Garcia‘s new song “Space Cadet” for that last analogy, with its chorus of “Now waiting is hard / It fucking takes so long”.

While there are a few non-guitar embellishments in the album, the vast majority of it is just solo acoustic guitar, a fairly bold move with the fans Garcia‘s likely to pull into hearing the album from his time in Kyuss and Unida. On the other hand, there’s the up-shot of how thin the competition for that audience is with this style, since most of the musicians using similar set-ups are aiming towards the indie rock/pop crowd (at least, that’s my current impression). While it may be seen as something of a novelty album, as Opeth‘s Damnation initially seemed to be, the musical chops put on display are firm enough to hold it together if you’re open to the musical style.

In a Nutshell
Whether the music works for you or not, it feels like Garcia did exactly what he wanted to with this album
Reader Rating1 Vote4.65
POSITIVES
A clear sense of character
Fluid finger-style on the guitar
NEGATIVES
With the intentionally limited instrumentation and fairly narrow range of tempos, it can feel like Garcia's modes of expression on the guitar tend to repeat from song to song