Sadhappy — Outerspaces
(Periscope CSH005, 2005, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2006-05-01
Sadhappy hasn’t been heard around these parts for quite some time. Work on the group’s second CD stalled while searching for a replacement to Paul Hinklin, who became ill and couldn’t complete the sessions. After several dormant years it’s a welcome surprise to hear the trio re-emerge with none other than Zappa alumnus Mike Keneally replacing Hinklin. In this atypical guitar role he helps support the band into newly drum and bass laced waters. Keneally’s job is one of the key successes as his understated playing fits like a glove with the funky and experimental grooves. Michael Manring’s low end is back in full force as he and drummer Evan Schiller continue to milk many rhythmic constructs. “Nightmare at the Guitar Center” is the oddest piece opening with an a cappella vocal before transitioning into a snaky bass chorus and frantic guitar leads. Other representative tracks include “Raga” where Manring does a convincing solo over a ghostly landscape with Keneally’s barely audible interjections. “Aunt Myrtle Ties One on at the Starlight Lounge” is my pick for most obtuse track as it highlights a quirky melody and unsettling syncopation. Overall the sessions are pretty good as it stakes new audio ground in the trio’s repertoire. I am still unsure if the trio is a working live entity yet, however. Given Manring’s and Keneally’s schedules I still hold out hope of seeing the trio live on stage soon.
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