Thursday, September 19, 2013

Album review: Tommy Keene

Tommy Keene, one of America's best purveyors of power pop music since the 1980s, just put out Excitement at Your Feet, a totally enjoyable new 11-track covers collection via Second Motion Records. 

Instead of focusing on others' hit singles, the veteran Maryland singer/songwriter gravitated toward deep album cuts (his thoughtful, acoustic "Catch the Wind" by Donovan is an exception). 

The impressive results might have you scouring the Internet to compare the originals like I did.  

Astute music fans will recognize the album title from The Who's "See Me, Feel Me." Here though, Keene actually pays tribute to the legendary British rock band by tackling "Much Too Much" (off My Generation) with some pristine harmonies.

Opening with a racing, delightful version of Flamin' Groovies' "Have You See My Baby," Keene does a fine take on Echo & the Bunnymen's "The Puppet" (from 1980's Crocodiles), complete with galloping drums and chiming guitars.

There's more of the latter sound during the glorious "Guiding Light," from Television's classic Marquee Moon (the longest track at more than five minutes, thanks to a stellar guitar solo). 

Standouts include the giddy, Farfisa-led early Rolling Stones number "Ride On Baby," gleaming "Choking Tara" (penned by Keene's sometimes collaborator Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices, originally on their Mag Earwhig! CD), the lean Mink DeVille rocker "Let Me Dream if I Want To" and suitably dreamy version of Roxy Music's "Out of the Blue," featuring synth and a gnarly ending guitar solo.

Grade: A

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Anonymous said...

It's "Ride On Baby", not Right On Baby. And he burns it up.

newwavegeo said...

Duly noted and corrected. I was writing about it from an advance copy.