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Album Review: STEPHEN KALINICH & JON TIVEN, “Shortcuts To Infinity/Symptomology”

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What can be said about two legends getting together to combine forces on a double album? Beach Boys lyricist Stephen Kalinich and producer/musician/journalist Jon Tiven (with production help from no less than Mark Linett) have created an incredible 2-CD 31 track magnum opus that runs the gamut from classic rock of the late ’60′s/early ’70′s with some swampy-grooves for good measure. This sounds so much like an album I would have heard on the radio as a kid in the mid-to-late ’70′s; the sounds I grew up with – so easily, I admit, I’m enamored with this collection. There’s a lot to digest, so here’s a summary:

From Shortcuts To Infinity – the first standout is the disc’s leadoff track, “It Takes Time” which is later ’60′s Dylanesque in its vocal feel and lyrical delivery. Pure Americana. “Fingers To The Sky” grooves in a Stones-y way; “Out Of The Darkness” stands out strongly and “Fight For Peace” (dare I say it) choogles in a nasty-Credence way. “Touch Of Sanity” has that wonderful ’70′s rock feel and “Livin’ & Dyin’” made me think of mid-period Lou Reed with its dry vocal take. From Symptomology, which is a bit more obtuse overall, “You Want What You Want” is a good old-fashioned, down-home boogie; “Don’t Fuck With Me” has a gritty, Southern feel; “Cul De Sac” is get-down rock and roll, “Cooler Than You” rocks like a schooner and “End Of The Road” has a dark, bluesy foreboding to it.

All in all, you’re bound for some enlightenment and experience with this 2-CD set; it’s not light or easily-dispensable. And it’s nice to see some storied veterans doing it in this day and age of flat-lining bullshit.

Recommended but not for the faint of heart!