Album Mini-review: Tommy Keene — Laugh in the Dark

File Next to: Marshall Crenshaw, Smithereens, Matthew Sweet

A dedicated soldier in power pop’s ongoing struggle for critical and commercial success, Keene is at the top of the genre in terms of both quality and consistency. His preternatural abilities – crafting a sharp hook; wrapping it in a memorable, powerful melody; and applying heartfelt, often melancholy lyrics – make him an exemplar of what power pop can be at its very best. After the tangent of his deep-cut covers album (2013’s Excitement At Your Feet), Keene returns with another winning set of originals. He blasts out of the gate with the chiming near-perfection of “Out of My Mind” and continues with nine more tunes boasting muscular backing. The shimmering “All the Lights Are Alive” demonstrates Keene’s skill at delivering lump-in-the-throat emotional content in the guise of an impossibly catchy pop song. Laugh in the Dark shows that Tommy Keene’s muse hasn’t failed him yet.

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