Album review: MFTJ - My Mom’s Getting a Horse (2021)
MFTJ (Mankind’s Final Traffic Jam) is Mike Keneally and Scott Schorr. Keneally, who is best known for his work with Frank Zappa, Joe Satriani and Devin Townsend, handles guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, oboe and adds noises; Schorr plays drums and percussion, piano and bass. Prog fans will know him for his production role with different combinations of Tony Levin, Jordan Rudess, David Torn, Alan White and Marco Minnemann.
They label themselves ‘instrumental prog soup flavoured with art-rock, hip-hop, hard rock and psychedelia’ and though I can’t find too much hard rock, it’s hard to argue with that description. If I really wanted to be a pain I’d probably point out that they use short sampled vocal phrases throughout the album, but there’s no real singing. MY MOM’S GETTING A HORSE is the duo’s second album, a natural successor to 2020’s MFTJ, though the song titles have got a little wackier. There are no long-form or extended tracks – everything is compact, single-length, and bursting with energy. The musicianship and production are spot on and it sounds as though the album was a great deal of fun to make.
Opener WHAT WALLY THINKS grooves along with a hip-hop beat, which isn’t what I was expecting and is something I’d normally describe as not my thing… but it’s undeniably clever and funky and even manages a bit of development over its 3’20”.
I REMEMBER WHEN CANDY BARS WERE A NICKEL is more conventional rock, if that’s an applicable term for music that sounds like HOT RATS-era Zappa.
SOFT TEETH is quite proggy, with experimental sections and post rock soundscapes.
NATIONAL MILK DAY has a fairly upfront, funky bass line and relatively conventional drumming which pin the piece together as guitar is sprayed around.
LUCY HAS THE GRIP OF A CROP DUSTER begins like a Brand X composition with electric piano, a band also known for strange song titles. The piece develops and ends with an urgent Zappa-like guitar solo.
HAMMY CROTCHPONG is electronic, funky and angular art rock. The guitar ending sounds like John Goodsall.
WHO GROOMS YOUR FUR? is funky pop which borrows from 80s electronic music. It’s constructed from short, repeated phrases, as is next track PEEPING RACCOON.
SHOE TRADE GONE BAD includes guitar and bass parts reminiscent of 80’s King Crimson bursts of thrash funk.
DONNER PARTY HIGHLIGHTS is another track that reminds me of Brand X, circa DO THEY HURT or IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT.
Title track MY MOM’S GETTING A HORSE combines a number of the elements that make the album a pleasure to listen to and a bottleneck guitar solo is thrown in for good measure. However, for the full effect, I’d recommend watching the suitably bizarre video of this particular song…
You can buy the album here: https://mftj.bandcamp.com/album/my-moms-getting-a-horse