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Mike Keneally - Boil That Dust Speck CD (album) cover


Mike Keneally


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Chris H
4 stars I've always wanted to use the term "musical smorgasbord" in a review, and this album gives me the perfect excuse to. Mike Keneally's second album "Boil That Dust Speck", originally released in 1994, is a follow up to his '93 debut "Hat". "Boil That Dust Speck" was a giant forward leap in terms of Kenneally's maturing as a musician. There are still a lot of short, comical interludes on this album, but the atmosphere of blazing guitar solos and alternative rhythms and lyrics is really a step forward to some of his later albums. (Hint at the critically acclaimed "Dancing").

One thing Keneally changed up since "Hat" was his use of instrumentals. Although there are less instrumental tracks on "Boil That Dust Speck", they are the backbone of the album. "Bullys (Sic)" features an incredible guitar solo, while the "dolphin medley" as it has been so aptly named is a true exercise in the field of avant-garde percussions. Also, although not an instrumental, the band's jam in the middle of "My Dilemma" is an excellent piece that showcases the talents of all of the musicians equally. Mike solos over a slap- bass rhythm laid down by Bryan Beller, all over Joe Travers tapping madly on the kit in a rather funk inspired jam.

One piece of background information that must be mentioned here is the fact that Mike Keneally was in times of incredible emotional turmoil during the writing and recording of this album. The birth of daughter Jesse was a high point, only to be brought down by the death of his father and then later the death of his friend and mentor Frank Zappa. The reason this information is relevant is because some of the tracks deal with these issues. Mike uses the track "Blameless (The Floating Face)" to question the plans God has laid out for him in a humorous method, and he carries on the theme in the aptly titles "There Have Been Bad Moments". Also, the ending trilogy "The Old Boat Guy" was written on the day of Frank Zappa's death (12/4/93) and were intended to be added to at a later date, but the events of that day inspired Mike to preserve the "as is" copies and record them then.

After the album is all said and done, this is a great album. No bones about it. If you look past the often humorous lyrics, Mike is implying messages deeper than what are presented on the surface. Also, for fans of solos, this album is just filled to the brim with short solo pieces that range from 10 to 30 seconds, and full songs worth of amazing guitar solos, bass solos and drum solos that envy the best of the best.

4 stars, a very mature step forward in Keneally's musicianship and songwriting.

Report this review (#155054)
Posted Monday, December 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars Mike Keneally's second album was every bit as good as his first (which is saying a lot). It's somewhat darker than Hat, but that's understandable, coming out right after the deaths of both his father, and his mentor, Frank Zappa. And like Hat this album was a godsend for those of us in the thralls of Zappa's demise.

The music is incredible. Like Zappa, Kennealy's music at this time was prone to go off in any direction at any time. Which isn't to say Keneally is a Zappa clone, but he learned enough from his stint in Zappa's band to infuse a similar type of irreverence into the music.

Everything on this disk is great, but special mention must go to the trio of songs, Them Dolphins Is Smart, 1988 Was A Million Years Ago (a reference to the great 1988 Zappa tour, which Keneally was a huge part of), and Yep, Them Dolphins Is Smart, Alright. These songs are some of the best RIO/Symphonic/Fusion blend Kennealy has made.

And Yes fans should listen to Faithful Axe, a piece made up ok Keneally playing various snippets from a variety of Yes classics, while singing pseudo-Yes lyrics in an Anderson(sort of)-like falsetto.

Report this review (#278240)
Posted Friday, April 16, 2010 | Review Permalink

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