Exposé Online banner

Mike Keneally — Scambot 1
(Exowax EX-2410, 2009, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2011-06-01

Scambot 1 Cover art

This is the first installment in a three-volume cycle, about a guy named Scambot, his cat Chee and the evil Boleous T. Ophunji (among many others). Mike Keneally is a triple threat as a musician, being a wizard on the guitar as well as a talented pianist and singer with too many accomplishments to list here. He’s often associated with Frank Zappa’s live band from the late 80s and early 90s, as well as his work with Steve Vai, which just goes to show Keneally is not afraid of stylistic diversity. This becomes quickly apparent within the first several songs here. Shades of Zappa’s wry, satiric wit crop up throughout the album, along with familiar musical reference points. Harder-edged riffing appears on songs like “Tomorrow” while a lighter acoustic touch shows up on the folky “DaDunDa.” And balancing out frenetic and angular songs like “Ophunji’s Theme” and the Mahavishnu-esque “We Are the Quiet Children” are warm and melodic ditties like “Cold Hands” that are downright hummable. The recording sessions took place over several years in the U.S. as well as the U.K. and Europe where Keneally collaborated with a string quartet, the fruits of which appear on the thorny epic “Gita.” A sense of cohesion somehow glues everything together, despite the wild disparity in styles. This is largely due to Keneally keeping the core instrumental combo to himself, bassist Bryan Beller and drummer Marco Minneman, a formidable trio indeed. And as if it weren’t enough to put together one album Keneally has made available a second disk titled Songs and Stories Inspired by Scambot, comprising outtakes, experiments, early mixes, and otherwise sheer silliness. I’m glad someone as intensely creative and talented as Mike Keneally is able to pursue his muse in such an unfettered manner. We can only benefit from his labors.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 39, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Mike Keneally

Latest news

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Joie Tet - All Structures Unstable – It starts with an aggressive riff on the bari sax run doubled an octave lower with a harmonizer; a bit later you get a distorted melody played on an instrument you can't quite identify from the...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues