Former Frank Zappa sideman Mike Keneally followed up his 1992 debut Hat with the equally eclectic yet darker and moodier Boil That Dust Speck in 1994. Clearly affected by the death of both his father Joseph Keneally and his mentor Zappa, Keneally chose to channel his emotions into Boil That Dust Speck, and the end result was a startingly fresh and original sounding mix of hard rock, prog rock, fusion, jazz, pop, and avant-garde styles. Exowax Recordings have recently remastered this little gem, complete with a bonus DVD featuring a 90-minute documentary on the making of the album, studio footage, and interviews.
With 30 tracks in total, it's pointless to go into detail about each one of them, but there are a few standouts. " 'Cause Of Breakfast" is a groove laden, pseudo-metal/prog piece with catchy vocals from Keneally, "Top of Stove Melting" is a endearing pop song housed within a raging fusion framework, complete with Keneally's ripping violin lines played on a keyboard. Mike's penchant for sunny pop melodies are never more apparent than on "Good Morning Sometime" (sounding a bit like Todd Rundgren meets The Beatles), and Zappa's influence is readily heard on the instrumentals "Them Dolphins is Smart" and "Yep, Them Dolphins is Smart", both with searing guitar, keyboard, bass, and drum interplay from Keneally, Doug Lunn, and Toss Panos. If you doubt Mike's incredible prowess on the guitar, check out " Bullys (sic)", a real burner as far as fretboard fire is concerned. "Helen Was Brash" is one of the funnier tunes on the CD (like a comedic version of Rammstein), while "Land of Broken Dreams" is catchy, quirky prog rock with alluring guitar and keyboard lines to go along with Keneally's fun vocals. In fact, Mike pays homage to his prog rock roots on "Faithful Axe"-just listen to this one and see how many snippets of classic prog songs he throws in here. The heavy "Scotch" shows that Keneally is also good at churning out accessible hard rock, complete with crunchy guitars and the pounding drums of Panos. The three part "The Old Boat Guy" is for all those that love Zappa's avant-garde material, and is mainly an excuse for plenty of percussive noodling.
The sound on this remaster is superb, the booklet loaded with information and lyrics, plus you get the DVD which really helps you get in-depth with Boil That Dust Speck thanks to interviews and commentary from the musicians themselves. So if you've been looking to replace your old CD copy for a while, or have never had any luck tracking this little gem down, now's the time to do it.
2. 'Cause Of Breakfast
3. The Desired Effect
5. I'm Glad There's Lemon-Freshened Thorax In You
6. Top Of Stove Melting
8. Bryan Beller's Favorite Song
9. Deep-Fried Skinks Are Go!
10. Good Morning, Sometime
11. Them Dolphins Is Smart
12. 1988 Was A Million Years Ago
13. Yep, Them Dolphins Is Smart, Alright
14. Bullys (sic)
15. My Dilemma
16. Helen Was Brash
18. Land Of Broken Dreams
19. Blameless (The Floating Face)
20. That Claim-Jumping Swine, O'Bannon
21. Faithful Axe
22. Natty Trousers
24. There Have Been Bad Moments
25. Frang Tang, The Valentine Bear
26. I Will
27. In The Bone World
28. The Old Boat Guy, Part One
29. The Old Boat Guy, Part Two
30. The Old Boat Guy, Part Three