Personnel: Tommy Keene (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Brad Quinn (vocals); John Richardson (drums).
Audio Mixer: R. Walt Vincent.
Photographers: April Orr; Tommy Keene.
Not that Tommy Keene has ever been one to rest on his laurels but based on 2015's Laugh in the Dark, the pop singer/songwriter was reinvigorated by the delightful busman's holiday of 2013's covers album Excitement at Your Feet. Keene certainly is trading upon the sound of his eternal inspirations here, diving into a whirlpool of candied harmonies and guitars that ring like bells, but, like always, the key to Laugh in the Dark is how it operates on two levels, delivering a sonic rush but also ten exceptionally sculpted songs. Both the production and the tunes bear the unmistakable stamp of a master craftsman, one whose work has only gotten sharper over the years. Tellingly, Keene never overextends himself on Laugh in the Dark: even when he slides into the modulated psychedelic swirl of the six-minute closer "All Gone Away," it's a purposeful expansion, an elegant conclusion to a tight 36 minutes of guitar pop rooted in the chime of the '60s but never tainted by nostalgia. This sound and sensibility remain a deep well of inspiration for Keene and the remarkable thing about Laugh in the Dark is that it demonstrates how he can still find sonically surprising, emotionally resonant variations on his themes three decades deep into his career. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine