No.7 Kyuss - Welcome to Sky Valley.
Formed in the late 1980s in Palm Desert, California, Kyuss was composed of four friends in high school who continued making a mark on music even after their band split in 1995. Without a doubt, the most notable of the band’s former members is Josh Homme, going on to mainstream (ish) success with Queens of the Stone Age, it seems every undertaking following his first band’s demise has turned to gold with Homme’s touch.
From the fertile musical bed Kyuss was tilling, several musical projects have sprouted forth from the efforts of the former band mates — Queens of the Stone Age, Slo Burn, Hermano, Unida, Mondo Generator, Brant Bjork & the Bros, etc. The list continues to grow, but even more numerous are the copycats that attempted to fill the void Kyuss left behind in the genre they helped create.
Kyuss has used Sky Valley to paint aural landscapes that, for me, somehow bring to mind the California desert from whence they came, but don’t think the musical ideas they’ve brought to the table for our ears to feast upon are as barren as the land they call home. Seemingly, their sparse surroundings have allowed their minds to wander into exciting new territory, although I suspect "substances" may have been involved, but hey, who cares?
From the contemplative meanderings of “Space Cadet” to the crushing grooves of “Gardenia,” Kyuss reveals all sides of their musical psyche, and just as diverse as the sounds of the songs is the subject matter found within the lyrics. In the tunes I mentioned previously, the first is about waiting for psychotropic drugs to kick in, while the other is about the spirit of desert rock and the generator parties Kyuss was known to have had in the middle of the desert. The powerful, pounding percussion in the intro of “Demon Cleaner” gives way to a song about brushing teeth (seriously).
To sum it all up, I have to say this is honestly one of my favorite albums. People new to Kyuss may have a hard time getting used to their unique sound, but if you like rock, and in particular the drone-y sound of early Black Sabbath iand are looking to expand your horizons, this one is definitely worth checking out.