8.3

Tommy Keene: In the Late Bright

Music Reviews Tommy Keene
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Tommy Keene: <em>In the Late Bright</em>

Power-pop mainstay remains exuberant


Tommy Keene has been making his brand of post-punk, folk-rock-infused power pop for 27 years now, and his strengths and limitations are pretty well established. The strengths are considerable, and his eighth solo album, In the Late Brightfrom R. Walt Vincent (Pete Yorn). There are short and sharply constructed songs brimming with dynamic production elements like chiming folk-rock guitar (“Tomorrow’s Gone Tonight”), Revolver-era Beatles touches (“A Secret Life of Strangers”), richly textured guitar work a'la “Eight Miles High”-era Byrds, sweet and rousing choruses that make you want to sing (“Please Don’t Come Along”), and more. He’s like a more focused Robert Pollard, which may be why the two have toured together with Boston Spaceships. The weakness is that his voice, hoarse and quite deliberate, tamps down the exuberance of his upbeat tracks, even when cushioned by harmony singing. But if he makes more instrumentals like his first recorded one, this album’s “Elevated,” he needn’t worry-the song has so much going on, from country twang to hard-edged rock to exuberant psychedelic feedback, that you don’t want the playing interrupted by any frivolous singing.


Listen to Tommy Keene on his MySpace page.

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