Tommy Keene's been making records for a really long time. Some have been better than others, but none have been bad. Two, 1986's "Songs From The Film" and 1989's "Based On Happy Times" are legendary in the power pop world, the latter featuring "When Our Vows Break," a duet with Jules Shear that over 20 years later, still remains in heavy rotation here at Casa de Quack.
Keene's releases over the last decade though have suffered from being a bit same-y. I hear the same problem on "Isolation Party," "Crashing The Ether," and "In The Late Bright," three records released from 1999-2009, that I hear with Matthew Sweet's last few. The records sound like they should, but it seems like they were built around the sound and not the songs. Sweet's newest, "Modern Art" continues that frustrating trend, but Keene's most recent "Behind The Parade," released in August, breaks it.
This is Keene's best record since the aforementioned "Based On Happy Times."
It's all here! The big guitars, the hooks, the harmonies...and, best of all...the songs.
This is by far one of the best power pop records I've heard in a very long time. The first single, "Deep Six Saturday" which opens the records is a monster. That will reel you right in. But "Behind The Parade" doesn't let up. It may throw you a bit when you get to track 5, "La Castana," an instrumental that sounds more like Brian Eno meets Brian Wilson than what Keene had just handed us in tracks 1-4. But when it was over, I wanted to play it over again. It's a perfect curve ball that sets up the second half of this fantastic record.
"Deep Six Saturday" is below. Give it a listen.