If you can imagine a contemporary sounding John Lennon, you
can picture what Tommy Keene sounds like. His coffeehouse style
pop/rock ambiences give folk tunes an electrical upsurge. The songs
fluctuate in tempo from even steady flows to cruising speeds, upbeat
and voluminous. His vocal textures and melody bodices have strappings
similar to songwriters like Elvis Costello, Morrissey,
and Simple Minds. The Bethesda, Maryland born musician/songwriter
was last seen with an album in 2002 when he put out The Merry-Go-Round
Broke. The latest release Crashing the Ether with executive
producer Kevin Lane Keller is his eleventh full length album.
The album encompasses multiple production techniques for layering
instrument levels, dotting melodies with individual tweaks, and placing
vocals between the mounting levels.
The album starts off with "Black & White New York"
a mid-tempo degree with scintillating crystal-toned shakers ornamented
by quivering guitar undertones and pop/rock shades. Each number
is uniquely defined. "Warren In The '60s" emits country
pop hues with tambourine quavers, pockets of steady drum craters,
and a harmonica interlude. "Quit That Scene" offers springy
beats touched up by sets of radiant chord ellipses. "Driving
Down The Road In My Mind" totters hand in hand with the vocals
and melodic fills adding a voluptuous guitar solo lining the outro.
"Wishing" is a folk rock tune with billowing drum intervals
and iridescent streaming guitar parts.
There really is no way to generalize Tommy Keene's songs other than
that they all fall into the pop/rock mode. Each song has its own intricate
fastenings and individuality. "Lives Become Lies" is an
even steady piece with fundamental melodic structures and mild movements.
"Eyes Of Youth" promulgates upbeat surges in the guitar
and drum parts, accessorized by flapping cymbal streaks. "I've
Heard That Wind Blow Before" has rock rooted guitar vibrations
and palpating drum strikes. "Alta Loma" has a cruising speed
with clusters of crisp guitar segments and mild grooves permeating
the low-pitched bass slopes. The final track "Texas Tower #4"
resonates with shimmering guitar fills and the slapping motions of
cymbals amassing to a heightened volume that peaks and then deflates
through the outro.
Tommy Keene works with multiple degrees of movements, varying chord
structures, and the placement of the instrumental parts. His songs
are a picture of finely tuned songwriting. He has been writing original
material since 1982 when he released his debut LP Strange Alliance.
Twenty-four years later he is still writing his own original material.
He has out lasted many of the record labels which have released his
albums and he will probably continue to do so in the next twenty-four
years. His sound is contemporary and based in fundamental song structures.
His songs show a passion for the relationship which the instruments
and vocals have and brings out a harmony that makes all things possible.
1. Black & White New York
2. Warren In The '60s
3. Quit That Scene
4. Driving Down The Road In My Mind
6. Lives Become Lies
7. Eyes Of Youth
8. I've Heard That Wind Blow Before
9. Alta Loma
10 Texas Tower #4
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