Scambot 1

Mike Keneally

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Scambot 1 Review

by Sean Westergaard

Caught somewhere between a soundtrack, a concept album, and a screen treatment, Scambot 1 is an album that requires a lot of effort on the part of the listener. When taken as a whole, it's easy to see why the project took around five years to complete (with some tracks going back as far as ten years!). It's not only incredibly detailed sonically, there's a 20-plus-page booklet that basically amounts to a full-screen treatment (and remember, this is just Scambot 1, not the whole story). The music is sort of the soundtrack to the film. What lyrics there are (it's mostly instrumental) are bits of dialogue from the characters that are embedded in the text. Here's the problem: it's really difficult to read and comprehend the story/screen treatment while the music is playing because there's so much story/movie information that you can't concentrate on the music. If you skip the story, you don't know what the music is supposed to be conveying and the lyrics will make no sense whatsoever. If you read the story beforehand so you have an idea of what's going on, you still have to reference the booklet while the music is playing or you lose track of where the story is in relation to the music...or the music in relation to the story. The story itself is, well, weird and convoluted, but Keneally's "screen treatment" is extremely well done and funny, and perhaps the only screen treatment with passing references to both Air Supply and Bongwater (the band). His descriptions are so vivid that picturing the action is a piece of cake. The music runs the gamut from quirky to intense to beautiful, and guitar fans should really enjoy "We Are the Quiet Children" and "Foam," which began as guitar/drums improv with Marco Minneman, with "Gita" being another highlight. It's all a great concept, but it really does require some work to get everything out of it. Those who are willing to put in the effort will be richly rewarded, though. And keep your fingers crossed: Keneally is friends with animator Brendon Small of Metapocalypse fame (and a member of the live Dethklok), so perhaps an animated version will surface someday.

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