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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mike Keneally

The Thing That Knowledge Can’t Eat

Review by Gary Hill

Mike Keneally is one of the most unique and interesting musicians out there. He is probably best known for his time working with Frank Zappa, but I have to say that his solo material stands tall in the minds of those who know. This new album is inventive and challenging, but always entertaining. Parts of this call mind Zappa, but that's just sort of a starting point. While you can make out comparisons to other acts here and there, it's decidedly original. I'll be surprised if this album doesn't make my "best of 2023" list.

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Track by Track Review
This is an intriguing and unusual cut. It has a musical theater meets opera vocal arrangement paired with fast-paced piano. This definitely feels like something Zappa would have done.
Both Sides of the Street
This is a cool mainstream rocker that manages to be meaty and catchy. It has some killer guitar, but what else would you expect. The vocals are more tasty rock based.
Mercury in Second Grade
The cool acoustic guitar jamming on this has so much class. It almost brings some jazz tendencies. It just keeps creating interesting patterns of sound. The vocals that run over the top seem to have a bit of a grounding effect, bringing this into more mainstream territory. All in all, this is artsy and so cool.
The metal sound as this gets underway is classy. This is riff driven and so cool. This instrumental piece gives us some unusual, but exceptionally effective, jamming.
Spigot (Draw the Pirate)
Jazz and progressive rock merge on this number. It's melodic, creative and intriguing. There are some psychedelic angles at times.
This has a full-on jazz arrangement as it gets going. It's another with some definite Zappa leanings. It's a killer tune that's among my favorites here. It's another instrumental. It works out to some smoking hot experimental jamming further down the road. That part gets so intense and decidedly fusion/prog based.
Crazed and so cool, this has more of that Zappa angle. It also gets really heavy and almost metallic at times. Other things I'm reminded of to some degree here includes King's X and Todd Rundgren.
Big Hit Song
This does have a more mainstream rock sound to it. It has a cool ascending pattern. There are some rather jazzy guitar tones. There is a break to a mellower, almost psychedelia meets jazz movement mid-track. As it comes out of that it takes on a real later period Beatles sound.
The Carousel of Progress
Piano and vocals feature prominently as this gets going. There is a healthy helping of jazz in the mix. I can also make out hints of Queen on the vocal arrangements early. This shifts later to some cool driving guitar based prog rock. This thing keeps working through changes. It works back toward the opening movement to bookend it on closing.
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