Kalishes, John - 2003 Mirages

ARTIST: Kalishes, John
ALBUM: Mirages
LABEL: Blackhole Music
SERIAL: 72123
YEAR: 2003

LINEUP: John Kalishes - guitar, bass, keyboards, percussion, vocals * John Barker - keyboards * Michael Hill - vocals * Susan Waterman - vocals

TRACK LISTING: Working Man * 02 A Messenger * 03 Faithful * 04 Amazing Randy * 05 The Push * 06 Kiss & Vinegar * 07 Naked * 08 True Love * 09 Cupcake * 10 Beginning To End * 11 Big Clock


It's hard to know what to say. John Kalishes is a man with ideas and [I assume] a complete self belief. It's not altogether clear, however, whether he's living on the planet Earth with the rest of us.

Apparently, John is a bit of a local area legend out of Boston, and has been involved with just about anyone who's been anyone out of that fair city. Let's run some names past you: The Cars (in particular the late Benjamin Orr), Susan (remember them? the Leland brothers et al?), Jon Butcher, Joe Perry, and Christian melodic rockers Riser. In the meantime, onto this album. Where to begin?

The Songs

'Working Man' (no, not the Rush song) has an understated ambient keyboard loop running though it, which could have been quite effective, but unfortunately the overall effect and ultimately, the track is spoiled by messy time signatures and even clumsier vocal arrangements.

While 'A Messenger' has a more structured approach, there are no vocal melodies here (at least, not in the traditional sense) and no real hook to speak of. On the plus side, parts of the guitar work come across with an old fashioned groove, and that's never upsetting.

'Faithful' at first sounds like it's going to be a piano based ballad and then, in an unprecedented turn, veers into rock opera territory. The lead vocal is shared with Susan Waterman, whose voice is very welcome, it's a pleasure to hear some 'real' singing, after the off-key vocals with peculiar phrasings during the first couple of tracks.

Unfortunately, this upward turn doesn't last nearly long enough and is followed by 'Amazing Randy', an instrumental which doesn't flow very well and 'The Push' which could've worked better as the tune has a little more structure, but like 'Working Man', it fails due to some very messy rhythmic qualities.

'Naked', another slower paced offering works better. By this point (assuming you've not given up completely) you'll probably find yourself wondering why Mr Kalishes didn't concentrate more on this kind of material, as it's painfully obvious that he's much better at it than the more complex material, most of which is just painful ('True Love' being the worst offender, musically sloppy with a cod metal riff coupled with some bad language, thanks, but no thanks).

In Summary

I really hoped the closing trio of tracks would make more sense, therefore finishing on a high, but sadly, there's very little of note, just more ham-fisted rhythms and chorusless labouring.

I'm afraid the desire throughout this album to be complex and somehow clever only works towards the negative. While Kalishes and his band try very hard, the end result misses by a country mile.

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