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Mike Keneally - Scambot 1 CD (album) cover


Mike Keneally



4.21 | 41 ratings

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5 stars It's really something of a shame that Mike Keneally is so obscure at ProgArchives. For a site where so many people complain that modern prog rock is "not progressive enough", it makes me wonder why this wonderfully unique artist has less than two dozen reviews for each of his albums.

Gaining notice in 1988 as Frank Zappa's "stunt guitarist" on his final tour (a seat once filled by Adrian Belew and Steve Vai, to give you an idea of what that takes), Keneally, who grew up as a fan of classic prog rock, soon began releasing compact disks of his own material, beginning with the masterpieces "Hat" and "Boil That Dust Speck". Settling down a bit after that, his albums became more of a mix of his off-beat avant-prog and slightly more traditional pop tunes. Recent years have seen him branching out with acoustic, orchestral, and piano-heavy albums.

But here, Keneally went full prog. Released as a concept album, Scambot tells, in Keneally's extremely odd and somewhat incomprehensible style, the story of a strange creature, the Serial Consciousness Agent (Military Division) Bringer Of Truth. The liner notes give you the story, and I have to admit, I find them barely relevant to the music on the disk. But the story is hilarious.

Musically, this may be Keneally's finest work, using his anything goes style to create a wonder of off-the-wall pieces. While I love his own style, I have to applaud his use of Frank Zappa's style and phrasing in the piece, Chee, with tuned percussion and a blaring horn section that must be an homage to his former mentor.

The album keeps up all the way to the end, where Keneally chooses to bring things to a peaceful conclusion with a mostly acoustic track. A wonderful end to this great album.

My copy is the deluxe edition, that comes with another disk, "Songs and Stories Inspired by Scambot 1". This is a disk of alternate takes, experiments and songs not included on the Scambot 1 disk. While many times when listening to bonus disks included with an album, it is easy to understand why the tracks were left off of the final album, here we get more high quality work that just didn't fit on the single disk.

Easily a five star album.

Evolver | 5/5 |


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