Cabalistic Dispatch Review

by Greg Camphire  / New Release Editor

(published in ICE MAGAZINE DAILY NEWS FLASH, July 14, 2005.)

After two EPs and appearances on several compilations, indie singer-songwriter Jon Kanis releases his first full-length next week on the evo/mjk imprint. For those unfamiliar, Kanis has been a mainstay on the San Diego scene, and has previously collaborated with the Plimsouls’ Peter Case as well as members of the Wondermints, otherwise currently known as Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s backing band.

Fruitful musical unions continue with the July 19 release of Cabalistic Dispatch, which features guitarist and co-producer Mike Keneally lending a hand throughout the album’s 18 cuts. Keneally’s signature licks were introduced to the world in the late ’80s when he was a member of Frank Zappa’s last touring band, and have continued through a series of ambitious, critically acclaimed solo recordings over the years.

While Kanis’ uniquely quirky lyrics and personal vision may earn him the singer-songwriter tag, Dispatch is no hushed, confessional affair. Keneally’s crunchy, twisting leads ride atop some seriously heavy rock stomps, as on the sludgy, AC/DC-esque “Don’t Stand There,” while many of the LP’s acoustic-driven tunes like “The Colorist” and “Lay Your Life on the Table” retain an edge that references energetic group efforts like Led Zeppelin III or the Beatles’ White Album.

Elsewhere, instrumentals “A.C. in Michigan” and “The Return of the Edmund Fitzgerald” eschew vocals altogether for some moody excursions that nicely display the distinctive interplay between Kanis and Keneally’s guitars. The classic rock comparisons don’t end there either, as Kanis has cleverly sequenced all the tracks in four-part sections, recalling those dusty slabs of vinyl without actually having to flip them over.

The full track list:

“Invocation”

“Don’t Stand There”

“Forget (That I Ever Mentioned It)”

“The Colorist”

“Think It Over”

“Fear”

“A.C. in Michigan”

“The Sun”

“Everything Remains”

“Butterfly”

“Questions For A Swami”

“Make It”

“Real Gone”

“Give”

“That”

“Shine On”

“Lay Your Life On The Table”

“The Return Of The Edmund Fitzgerald”