5

Mike Keneally: You Must Be This Tall

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
Virtuoso guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Mike Keneally has been all over the musical radar, spanning the past three decades. Performing with Frank Zappa in 1988, the artist has also aligned with avant-garde guitar hero Henry Kaiser and currently mans the keyboards amid some guitar work in support of iconic progressive rock guitarist Joe Satriani. With his 24th solo album, Keneally propagates some insanely complex time signatures, perhaps deriving influence from Zappa but mixes it up poignantly by infusing humor, slamming backbeats, symphonic keys, and a seemingly eternal array of slants and divergent contrasts. He is joined by all-universe drummer Marco Minnemann, but Keneally performs on just about everything other than the kitchen sink while garnering additional support from bassist Bryan Beller (The Aristocrats) and others.

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).

Title: You Must Be This Tall | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Exowax


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Signal 9 CD/LP/Track Review Signal 9
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 22, 2017
Read For the Love of You CD/LP/Track Review For the Love of You
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 21, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by John Sharpe
Published: October 21, 2017
Read "Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared Saxophone" CD/LP/Track Review Sopranoville: New Works for the Prepared and Non-Prepared...
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "December Songs" CD/LP/Track Review December Songs
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 5, 2016
Read "Il Dodicesimo Nano" CD/LP/Track Review Il Dodicesimo Nano
by Jim Olin
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "Welcome to Swingsville!" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read "All You Gotta Do" CD/LP/Track Review All You Gotta Do
by Doug Collette
Published: September 16, 2017
Read "Aspiration" CD/LP/Track Review Aspiration
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.