After Kyuss, Slo Burn and Unida is Hermano the fourth band of John Garcia. Hermano has released three awesome albums and Dare I Say... is the second one. This album is full of great Stoner/Desert/Hard Rock tunes, as we can expect from John Garcia. The voice of Garcia is again of major importance with this band. It is always a pleasure to hear his voice. Great songs are: Cowboys Suck, Life, Quite Fucked, Murder One and Angry American. Enjoy!
Considering the tough luck (especially with labels) of few of Hermano's members have been through, it's almost a miracle the band actually stuck together to record this highly anticipated second album, which many predicted would be their true debut album, as opposed to the scattershot affair that Only a Suggestion was a few years ago. And indeed, Dare I Say… does feel more cohesive, even though the band repeatedly steps out of the stoner/desert groove mould, and it actually is a full-length album (the debut only contained 7 actual songs and was usually treated as a long EP). However, good intentions do not always result in worthwhile material, and this sophomore album definitely has its flaws and share of less impressive material. What the band does have in heaps, is energy, as the brash "Cowboys Suck" immediately makes clear with a middle-finger raisin', scorchin' groove that'll burn off your eyebrows and sideburns. The lyrics contain too much clichéd imagery and the music's too straightforward to tower above their contemporaries' releases, but of course there's John Garcia, and very few singers out there can bellow and holler like this guy, whom many still consider to be the ultimate stoner vocalist. There's certainly a case to be made for that statement, as his delivery (often seething with energy) and the diversity his displays is quite impressive: during the rumbling "Life," which seems to reconcile late-period Kyuss with early QOTSA, for instance, his vocals switch from mellow whisper to righteously nasty scream in a split second.
The QOTSA-name actually rears its head regularly during the course of the album, most of all during the typical robot-rock of "Is This O.K.?", which needs a Garcia shifting into a higher gear to find its truly own voice. Despite the similarities to the releases of former band mate Homme, Hermano contains to exude their own brand of energy again. Looser and bluesier than QOTSA, they come off as more spontaneous and more traditional: you'd never find anything as direct as "Roll Over" or as simple as the acoustic blues of "Murder One" on an album by the Queens. The hostile atmosphere of the latter pops up throughout the entire album (and the cover art), turning it into quite an angry, even bitter, document. While this not always works to their advantage - in fact, the endlessly repeated "Go, motherfucker, go" of the metronome-raunch of "Quite Fucked" gets fucking annoying after a while, and so does the adolescent, humourless ranting of "Angry American" - this indignant energy also infuses the album with a stubborn pulse that keeps it from becoming a bore. As such, the mildly enjoyable "On the Desert" and quite generic "My Boy" are easily redeemed for by excellent tracks such as "Brother Bjork" (a dramatic, almost pompous anthem that gives Garcia the opportunity to show what he's got) and the vicious album closer "Let's Get It On" ("I'll make a motherfucking mess out of you"). On the one hand, the band definitely comes off as a determined unit, which pays off in the energy department, but on the other hand, Dare I Say… also contains too much unexceptional songs to smack you against the wall - which is exactly what you expect from this band. Nothing less. Other bands would probably sacrifice a limb or two to come up with an album like this, but I can't get rid of the opinion that these four troopers could and should have achieved something even better.
(By Guy Peters)
Hermano - Dare I Say (2005)