Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

Consumer Guide:
  User's Guide
  Grades 1990-
  Grades 1969-89
  And It Don't Stop
  Book Reports
  Is It Still Good to Ya?
  Going Into the City
  Consumer Guide: 90s
  Grown Up All Wrong
  Consumer Guide: 80s
  Consumer Guide: 70s
  Any Old Way You Choose It
  Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough
Xgau Sez
  And It Don't Stop
  CG Columns
  Rock&Roll& [new]
  Rock&Roll& [old]
  Music Essays
  Music Reviews
  Book Reviews
  NAJP Blog
  Rolling Stone
  Video Reviews
  Pazz & Jop
Web Site:
  Site Map
  What's New?
Carola Dibbell:
  Carola's Website
CG Search:
Google Search:

Yo Ma Ma-Stephen Kalinich & Jon Tiven

  • Symptomology/Shortcuts to Infinity [MsMusic, 2012] A-

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Symptomology/Shortcuts to Infinity [MsMusic, 2012]
Kalinich started writing lyrics for the Beach Boys in the '60s and went on from there; Tiven fronted the Yankees' 1978 garage-rock one-off High 'n' Inside before establishing himself as the go-to producer for soul singers too far over the hill to bring his songs alive. But now, at 70 and 57, the two collaborators pack two distinct garage-rock albums into one double-jewelbox, with Tiven the vocalist on all 31 tracks after a layoff of over three decades. Predictably, I prefer the punky Symptomology to the hippieish Shortcuts to Infinity, but on both records the familiar-sounding tunes stick to the eardrums, delivering lyrics that are quite funny or sufficiently wise. Formally and sonically, it's received save some extraneous horns. But as human expression it's inspired, with Cody Dickinson's North Mississippi drums driving it toward the immediate future. A-