Unida - _Coping With the Urban Coyote_
(Man's Ruin, 1999)
by: Matthias Noll (9 out of 10)
John Garcia is back again. For those of you not familiar with the man: John Garcia is the singer of disbanded stoner rock / desert metal kings Kyuss, who, after a short intermezzo with the band Slo-Burn, now has reappeared. Given the closeness of Slo-Burn's single output to Kyuss, the main question here seems to be: are Unida just a Kyuss revival band or do they have something different to offer? Sound-wise, _Coping With the Urban Coyote_ does of course use ingredients similar to Kyuss: a bass laden, heavily distorted wall of guitar and bass in the slow to uptempo range. The first thing to notice is that the production work is amazing. Heavy but crisper and with a better definition of each instrument than on any other Garcia-related output. Besides this improvement, a difference fortunately also shows in the songwriting. Though two out of the eight songs, the straight uptempo tracks "Black Woman" and "Dwarf It", could have been among the best on Kyuss' _Welcome to Sky Valley_, in general Unida are far less trippy and psychedelic than Kyuss. They are straighter, more rock 'n' roll and blues based and catchier. Garcia himself shows his best work to date on this record. He sounds clearer and more powerful than ever, he's not buried in the mix like on _And the Circus Leaves Town_ and is obviously attempting to go for his limits in style and range. It's simply amazing how his voice twists and turns around the melody lines, like a Spitfire in the Battle of Britain, and I admire his unique ability to offer something different each time he does a chorus or repeats parts of the lyrics. To sum it up: this record is on par with Kyuss' best efforts and highly recommended to all stoner rock fans.

(article published 1/15/2000)


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