Stoner/Hard Rock
Punk/Power Pop

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Orquesta Del Desierto

Orquesta Del Desierto

by Brian Varney

This is another one o' them desert-themed stoner sideprojects/supergroups, but I don't want anyone reading this to get the idea that this is an experimental jokefest like the interminable Desert Sessions series. Featuring members of Kyuss, Queens Of The Stone Age, Goatsnake, and Fatso Jetson, this thing is chock full of acoustic guitars, horn sections, and a pleasant sort of mellowness that brings a desert sunset to mind (the exact setting pictured on the album's front cover, handily enough).

Another thing that separates this from the afore-mentioned Desert Sessions is the organic, sincere, almost folky vibe this gives off. Despite the fact that some of these guys have played on Desert Sessions recordings, this has none of the contrived quirkiness or utter lack of quality control that makes the Desert Sessions recordings so occasionally maddening.

Whereas the Desert Sessions stuff is as contrived as can be, this stuff feels completely natural, as if this sort of thing just rolls off the band members' fingertips. The wide-open sound of the production, the acoustic-driven nature of the songs, and the celebratory atmosphere evoked by these songs gives it the feeling of something performed around a campfire in the middle of the desert. And since the press sheet says, "written and performed in the heart of the Palm Desert," this might actually be pretty close to the truth.

In any case, the massed acoustic guitars, the wistful beauty and the almost sneaky catchiness of the material reminds me of the quiet moments on Love's Da Capo, another album which is quickly becoming one of my favorites. And when you arrive at one of the gloriously psych-flavored electric guitar lines which occasionally surface, floating forth into the sky like wisps of smoke on a still day, you're rewarded with moments of near-transcendence, the sort of thing likely to inspire one of those brief, brilliant moments of overpowering happiness where you can't help but feel, in spite of all the shit in your life, that everything, if even for the briefest of moments, is good in the world. And is there anyone reading this who can honestly say they don't want more of those?
(PO Box 40322 Albuquerque, NM 87196)  

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