Mike Keneally: You Must Be This Tall (2013)
The album includes a conglomerate of topsy-turvy keys and synth parts, succinct choruses, dancing and pulsating rhythms, buoyant melodies and Keneally's formidable guitar work. It's a penetrating and meticulously engineered journey, tinted with brief melodic hooks, clamorous crescendos, vocal overlays and much more. And he injects a perky, blues vibe with his note-bending guitar lines on "Cornbread Crumb." As is the case with most of these pieces, the artist envelops the program with intricately concocted progressive rock and terse snippets of hard rock into the schema with rippling grooves, colorific treatments and surprises that emerge and disappear in nanoseconds. However, on "Pitch Pipe" Keneally executes some ridiculously tricky, Zappa-like unison sequences, juxtaposed with a Middle Eastern motif, but alters the flow during "The Rider," which boasts a tuneful, anthem-like pop-rock melody atop a mid-tempo pulse. Here, Keneally lets it rip on guitar via his howling and searing lines. And he launches an aerial onslaught on the final track "Glop," where he twists his guitar into submission and transforms matters into a Caribbean percussion vamp.
Given the classy album artwork that intimates antiquity, displaying old black and white photos of boardwalks, city streets, cafes and so on, Keneally offsets the imagery with a futuristic and vastly entertaining sequence of musical concepts. The artist will most assuredly give your neural system a shot of adrenaline along with some good-natured fun, which is an ingredient that underlines much of the program.
Track Listing: You Must Be This Tall; Cavanaugh; Plum; Cornbread Crumb; Kidzapunk; Pitch Pipe; The Rider; Bolarius; Popes; Indicator; 5th Street; Glop.
Personnel: Mike Keneally: electric and acoustic guitars, bass, many synthesizers, percussion, programmed drums; Marco Minnemann: human drums (1, 5, 12); Matt Resnicoff: voices (2); April West: trombone (3); Joe Travers: drums (4, 9); Bryan Beller: bass (4, 9); Rick Musallam: rhythm guitar and electric guitar (4, 7, 9); Missy Andersen: voice (7); Andy Partridge: electric guitar, drum loops (10).
Record Label: Exowax
Style: Beyond Jazz