Hermano: …Into The Exam Room

If there were any odds going on what would be 2008’s first sure bet, …Into The Exam Room was closer to even money than any other release in January. And with good reason: the John Garcia (Kyuss) side project-turned-de facto main gig is gold standard desert/stoner rock. Man couldn’t front a bad record if he tried.

But aside from the certitude of a Hermano record rocking, there’s the actual rocking of it. Garcia’s silky smooth crooning over a thick stew of grooves being pumped out from the guitars of David Angstrom and Mike Callahan is a veritable brain massage. Need proof? Try the climactic bliss of the chorus of “Hard Working Wall” or the manly swagger of the boot cut verse of “Exam Room” for a ride. You’ll get the idea pretty quickly, if “Kentucky” didn’t already kick your teeth in and top it off with some “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” which incidentally, it does.

Man that song rules.

With the sizable amount of fuzz here, it’s easy for Exam Room’s more reflective moments to stand out—and stand out they do. The soft, reflective “Dark Horse II” is reminiscent of the heart wrenching acoustic work of Down (before Over The Under), and “At The Bar” is a nearly perfect piece of shuffling, soulful blues.

In fact, this new Hermano may be too good for its release date. A perfect album to roll down your windows to and drive to a restful locale, …Into The Exam Room might be the only warm clothes you’ll need this winter.

In A Word: Beer