Tommy Keene has been making strong, melodic rock for more than 30 years and flying under the radar. but you wouldn’t know it based on his latest album Laugh in the Dark. Keene sounds as alive and electric in 2015 as he did on 1982’s Strange Alliance and 1986’s Songs from the Film.
The opening “Out of My Head” drives with a fresh, timeless production of classic power-pop with breezy ease. The track sets the pace and tone for Laugh in the Dark: melodic, appealing, and seemingly effortless. Yet, it’s not until the album’s third track reveals how deadly Keene can be at the top of his game; “Last of the Twilight Girls” crushes like classic Big Star, with it’s huge guitar swagger and double-tracked vocals. Similarly,“All the Lights Are Alive” is a showcase for Keene’s craftsmanship, not only as an ace songwriter but as a singer with a cool demeanour.
More than his previous albums, Laugh in the Dark is more indebted to classic-sounding rock of the 1960s and 1970s, likely stemming from his free-wheeling abandon of his 2013 covers record Excitement at Your Feet. The set of songs on Laugh in the Dark feel lived-in and Keene’s performance—as a vocalist and guitarists—is supremely confident, yet humble. When you put together Keene’s songwriting with his technical prowess, you get something special.
Laugh in the Dark is out now on Second Motion Records.