Monday, July 19, 2010

Tommy Keene - Ten Years After - 1996

The first full-length album since 1989's Based on Happy Times, Ten Years After comes closer to capturing the raw energy of a Tommy Keene live show than any of his previous studio recordings. Kicking off with a hard guitar assault in "Going Out Again," the intensity and emotion is sustained throughout the rest of this superb 12-song collection. Keene's voice has never sounded better, and his guitar lines are fluid and inspired. The strength of lyric and melody in songs such as "We Started Over Again" and "Turning On Blue" assure that Keene's songwriting craft is still in top form. Ten Years After contains a memorable hook at every turn, whether it's in the drive of the delicate acoustic guitar in the folky "Silent Town" or the thunderous eloquence of "Your Heart Beats Alone." And Keene's band is particularly impressive; bassist/ vocalist Brad Quinn and drummer John Richardson rock hard, yet still provide the right rhythmic footing for each of the guitarists' musical detours -- for example, the country flavoring of "You Can't Wait For Time." A must for longtime fans, as well as anyone who appreciates intelligent and well-crafted pop/rock that maintains a sharp edge. -AMG