Tommy Keene – Laugh in the Dark (review)

Tommy Keene – Laugh in the Dark (Second Motion) review

12th long player from gifted melodic songwriter

Laugh in the Dark is the finest Tommy Keene album in years. The guitars are louder, and the hooks seem to sink in deeper this time around. Perhaps immersing himself in his influences on his covers album, Excitement at Your Feet, which we reviewed back in 2013, helped reconnect him with the reason he picked up the guitar in the first place.

The album kicks off with the driving rocker, “Out of My Mind” – full of chiming guitars, background harmonies and a great, sing-a-long chorus – all signatures of Keene’s craft, which he has perfected over the last 30 years. After paying homage to his heroes, he seems less worried about wearing those influences on his sleeve. Hence “Last of the Twilight Girls” features some nice Who-styled power chords, while “Go Back Home,” with its excellent slide guitar and acoustic accompaniment, echoes III-era Zeppelin. “All Gone Away” tips its hat to the Beatles, referencing both the drone of “Within You, Without You,” and the descending guitar line of “Dear Prudence,” all the while building to an epic guitar freak out at the end.

There’s enough diversity here to keep things interesting – from the mid-tempo “All The Lights Are Alive” to the buoyant “I Want it to Be Over Now.” If you’re a fan of melodic rock with an edge, it’s as good a time as any to discover Tommy Keene on his excellent new album. –Tony Peters