Thursday, April 03, 2008

Album of the Day

Boil That Dust Speck, by Mike Keneally (1994): An appropriate choice, given current box office favs, no? I have a weird relationship with this album, Keneally's second. It was long out of print and raved about by earlier Keneally fans, so I eagerly picked up the remastered special edition when it came out last year. I was, in a word, underwhelmed. Not that it was bad - far from it - but it turned out that I knew a lot of it from live settings and, for whatever reason, preferred those versions. So it took me a while to accept the album on its own terms and really hear all the things going on.

For one, the keyboard bits in the Dolphins trilogy ("Them Dolphins is Smart / 1988 Was a Million Years Ago / Yep, Them Dolphins Is Smart, Alright") really provide some nice texture that's generally lacking live. For another, the tunes I didn't know - "There Have Been Bad Moments" and the three-part percussion workout "The Old Boat Guy" - are really excellent. And it's made me come to love "Scotch," which never thrilled me. It's not quite as fun and whimsical as hat (both Mike's dad and Frank Zappa died while it was recorded), but not much is.

Overall, it's hard so say much that's bad about an album that compels you to love it after you get to know it well.

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