Boil That Dust Speck (Reissue)
By Bill Colrus, Chattanooga Pulse
Even if he’d never gotten the chance to join Frank Zappa’s touring band in 1988, Mike Keneally’s prodigious guitar and keyboard chops would have eventually landed him on the national stage anyway. The fact remains, however, that Keneally did get his first big gig in Zappa’s band, and his extremely varied and accomplished solo career in the years since has never quite completely shaken the influence of his late mentor. Nowhere is that influence more evident than on his first two solo albums, 1992’s .hat and 1994’s Boil That Dust Speck.
August 16, 2007
Keneally says .hat is “the sound of somebody who can’t believe he’s finally being allowed to make a real live solo album.” Like much of Zappa’s catalog, the album’s 25 tracks jump and straddle genres from anthem rock to funk, ballads, musical theatre, and any number of impossibly intricate compositions designed to test the talents of both he and his equally virtuosic sidemencreating a collection that is as catchy and silly as it is challenging and invigorating.
Recorded amidst the backdrop of the deaths of both Zappa and Keneally’s father, Boil That Dust Speck is a tad darker affair, but is no less ferocious or appealing than its predecessor. And while Keneally says in the liner notes that comedy “wasn’t so much a concern” on this record, the spaces between serious and multi-layered tunes like “Land of Broken Dreams” and “‘Cause of Breakfast” are sprinkled with a handful of hilarious ditties like the being-crushed-by-a-tree-, bee sting-, and dental work-fearing campfire sing-along, “I Will,” and the prog rock inside joke, “Faithful Axe,” on which Keneally does his best nonsensical Jon Anderson impression while whipping through 41 different Yes riffs in a song that’s not quite 90 seconds long.
Like all of Keneally’s albums, .hat and Boil That Dust Speck require repeated listens to fully digest. And if that’s not enough, each expanded edition includes an extra DVD overflowing with bonus audio and video footage.