In Boil That Dust Speck, former Frank Zappa "stunt guitarist" Mike Keneally has created an album that is clearly indebted to the singer/guitarist/keyboardist's mentor. From the humorous titles to the cut-and-paste compositional techniques shown on such tracks as "Sooth," the student follows in the footsteps of the master. This is not to say that Keneally, a fine guitarist and keyboardist who has toured with Steve Vai, does not have his own distinct musical voice; it is just one that is infused on every level with a healthy helping of FZ. He meets with mixed results on this album. A good example of the kind of song that is most successful on Boil That Dust Speck is "'Cause of Breakfast." This track, which opens with a bruising guitar riff, features a great vocal melody, convincingly sung by Keneally, and a Zappa-esque instrumental section complete with the odd rhythms that the late maestro so favored. Unfortunately, taken as a whole, Boil That Dust Speck has some problems. Too many of the album's 30 tracks are throwaway, undeveloped ideas, or jokes that are only funny to Keneally and his immediate circle of friends (although the Yes tribute "Faithful Axe" is admittedly hysterical). Sometimes the results are interesting almost in spite of themselves; "Bullys [sic]" is reminiscent of Zappa's Shut Up n' Play Yer Guitar and is just as entertaining. A classic example of getting carried away with the available data space on a CD, Boil That Dust Speck is a good record by a great musician only beginning to learn the value of restraint.
AllMusic Review by Daniel Gioffre