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): Marco Minnemann, Mike Keneally, Bryan Beller

Latest news

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more

2020-01-07
Joel Vandroogenbroeck RIP – Word has reached us of the death of Joel Vandroogenbroeck, best known as one of the founders of Brainticket, He also recorded electronic music under a variety of names. He was born August 25th, 1938 in Brussels, Belgium and died December 23, 2019 in Arlesheim, Switzerland, aged 81. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Platurno - Núcleos – Platurno is a young Chilean progressive rock trio of guitars, keyboards, and drums. Núcleos is their 2006 debut release of 11 mostly instrumental songs. Each song is different, but has a similar...  (2009) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues