I would like to tip my hat to some writers who’ve done pieces about the new album – I appreciate the energy and good words, a lot. TIP. Of my HAT.
This dude Mark S. Tucker has been sneaking reviews of my albums on to the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange (FAME) website for a while now, even when the albums he’s reviewed could in no way be referred to as “folk” or “acoustic,” such as You Must Be This Tall. I consider this a subversive act and I appreciate it. Here’s his YMBTT review:
Something Else! Reviews has been like a metric ton of the finest raisins, in that they have been very supportive, informed and cool – here’s Tom Johnson’s review of the new album:
…and an interview I did with Nick DeRiso of Something Else!, about YMBTT, Andy Partridge, and other potential items of interest:
We’re movin’ now! Here’s one single link that leads to TWO reviews of You Must Be This Tall, from DPRP, the Dutch Progressive Radio P. I know it’s not “Radio P” at the end. Let me look this up. It’s the Dutch Progressive ROCK PAGE. Sorry 🙂 Thank you Roger Trenwith and Jez Rowden.
Perpetual pal Pete Pardo from within the Sea Of Tranquility chooses to impart these thoughts:
This review at the New Zealand site Witch Doctor kind of took my breath away. Thanks Peter Kearns…
And hey! Not everyone is gonna dig it! The universe isn’t built to withstand total agreement on any one thing, and response to You Must Be This Tall is, if nothing else, a thing. Beppe Colli at Clouds and Clocks eloquently expresses reservations:
http://www.cloudsandclocks.net/CD_reviews/keneally_ymbtt_E.html (broken link)
The acknowledgement of these fine journalists and websites is in no way intended as a currying of favor in hopes of obtaining future fine, fine press. I just want to say I appreciate their getting the word out when I put out a new album; the albums mean a lot to me and I really appreciate the help, the energy and the appreciation.
Thank you friends.
The following bunch of text is a post I wrote my own damn self, a few days ago at the Usenet newsgroup alt.music.mike-keneally, on a thread started by Hagrinas Mivali in which he said some really wonderful things about the album and made reference to its structural coherence. Then there came Aaron, who felt that the album was highly fragmented, in fact the very antithesis of structural coherence.
Swooped I in and wrote:
“I probably agree with both Aaron AND Hagrinas. When I was pulling the album together it was hard to imagine that there would ultimately be cohesion; it began life as a proposed second CD for Wing Beat Fantastic, and originally also contained the material that became “Wingbeat Fantasia” and “Corn” from Wing Beat Elastic. It was originally going to be called The Cavanaugh Chronicles (I made reference to it online last year) but the material was so different from what was on WBF that we decided to just release WBF as a single CD with no special edition, and keep all this additional material for its own release. So it’s probably too easy for me to refer to it as “the best of what was still around” – not that there’s anything wrong with THAT, but I do think, as does Haggy (for which I’m grateful), that it really did achieve a surprising cohesion once I happened on the final running order. As Cavanaugh Chronicles, with the piano-based material that became “Fantasia,” as well as “Corn,” it felt way more grab-baggy, but as a 12-song 44-minute album it got a shape and flow that I am really happy with.
But it’s also the first album since Sluggo! that is just a collection of songs, without any additional overarching concept, or unifying musical approach, or the same band lineup across all the songs.
Nonkertompf was the one-man band instrumental freakout
Dancing was about the sound of that particular band
Wooden Smoke was the acoustic record
Dog was about the sound of THAT particular band
TUWP was the orchestral record
Vai Piano Reductions was the Vai piano record
Guitar Therapy was a live album
Wine & Pickles was the outtakes record
Scambot 1 was a concept album
Evidence of Humanity was the album with Marco
bakin’ was a live album
WBF was the Andy Partridge record
WBE was the remix/reinvention record
This is an album of music, with no concept beyond that. So I think that maybe it also feels less unified because it’s the first record in a long time that doesn’t have a particular something, like all those records above, to tie it together. But in the way that I think Wine & Pickles is a really strong record that I didn’t know I was making, I feel the same way about this, although I don’t think You Must Be This Tall is an “outtakes” record in any way. These songs are all meant to be main events.
Some of them were in the running for Scambot 1 – “You Must Be This Tall,” “Cornbread Crumb,” “Popes” and “Glop” were all in the running for that album – and I could have saved them for Scambot 2 but I am now very dead set on having each of the three volumes of Scambot feel entirely different from one another. Each one is meant to feel more clear and less cluttered than the one before, which will parallel the storyline as well.
The four songs I wrote quickly after getting back from a Satriani tour in early 2011 (“The Rider,” “Kidzapunk,” “Cavanaugh” and “Pitch Pipe,” which were all based on little iPhone voice memos and fleshed out within a week of studio time) were all in consideration for inclusion on Wing Beat Fantastic but eventually it made the most sense to keep that album very focused on the songs I wrote with Andy (plus “That’s What I Have No Name” and “Land,” both of which were also under consideration for inclusion on Scambot 1 or 2). Then I thought those four iPhone songs might be a stand-alone EP, but ultimately it was more fun to make a whole album.
You can see that the last several albums have all kind of come into being simultaneously. It’s been fun and exciting to have such a large body of material to play with and re-combine in different ways – and in fact I do still have a pretty sizable amount of unreleased material recorded during the Scambot 1 period which may be used in various ways on Scambot 2 or its accompanying special edition bonus disc (which may or may not be called Gnink Battle: An Adjunct to Scambot 2). But you can probably also see why I’m excited to move beyond the material I’ve recorded over the past bunch of years and move forward with a new approach.
So while You Must Be This Tall was explicitly a means of gathering together the best unreleased material from the past seven or so years of recording activity, ultimately I think it did achieve a personality of its own and made for what I think is one of my best albums, certainly one I still get a huge amount of pleasure from listening to. I love the sound of it, I think it’s very strong and substantial, and writing- and playing-wise I think it holds up all the way through. I’m super thrilled with it.
I’m hanging out in my hotel room in Albuquerque (sp?) with another few hours before showtime tonight and felt like shooting the shit about all this with you guys.”
And I killed the thread stone cold fucking dead writing all that shit. No response. I stifled all potential interaction with a torrent of trivia. But Antal said, “hey, we should stick that thing you wrote about the new album on the site somewhere.”
And so we have, friends. And…so…we…HAVE.
Sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, everything,