Tommy Keene – Behind the Parade

January 01, 1970

(Second Motion)


If you ever want to make an argument about an inverse
relationship between popular success, with its attendant pressure and expectations,
and artistic quality, just take a look at the career of Tommy Keene. With no
corporate bean-counters or chart-obsessed management looking over his shoulder,
the D.C.-bred/L.A.-based singer/songwriter has made consistently sterling power
pop for nearly three decades now, rarely faltering in quality and garnering a
loyal and passionate following along the way.


It’s unlikely that Behind
the Parade
will be any more popular than his prior work, but Keene doubtless doesn’t
care. Is it an artistic success? It’s almost a clichéd answer at this point – of course it is.


Keene’s almost casual mastery of post-‘60s/postpunk melodies
and hooks, smart, humanist lyrics and janglecrunch guitar wizardry mean his
signature sound is intact on his tenth LP – it would be too predictable if it
didn’t always sound so fresh. At any rate, Behind
the Parade
lobs another handful of Keene
klassiks into the katalogue, including the crackling opener “Deep Six
Saturday,” the lovelorn charmer “Already Made Up Your Mind” and the insistent
narrative “Factory
Town.” “Lies in My Heart”
closes the record with a tune that manages to brood and soar at the same time, a
perfect encapsulation of Keene’s


As is Behind the


Six Saturday,” “Factory
Town,” “Lies in My Heart”

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