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Tommy Keene | Miscellany (Not Lame)
It's hard to believe that Tommy has been around for more than thirty years, peddling his personal brand of sharp-suited, shiny, pointy power pop. Not that it's done him much good in the past, though. Tommy has something of a chequered career - dropped by major label Geffen after two albums, voted number one EP of the year in Village Voice; a failed appearance in a rock musical; mobbed in Japan, stalked by fanatic aficionados in France and constantly played on Swedish radio; appearances with Paul Westerberg, Velvet Crush, Mission of Burma and members of the Gin Blossoms. His is a CV that most of us would die for. Yet the hits didn't keep coming, despite Tommy's evident musical ability, ear for a hook-filled tune and perfect power pop voice. 'Miscellany' gathers together the best bits of Tommy's colourful career - and there have been plenty! - in one neat little package. From the word go, it's jangling, spangling, chirpy, upbeat, singalong pop with that ineffable twelve-string quality that is chocolate for the ears. Whether it's the crunchy, choppy licks of opener Drowning, the crystalline There's No One In This City or the classic pop of Karl Marx, 'Miscellany' provides a highly digestible feast of music from one of America's most neglected musicians. Oh, and there's a top version of the Hollies sixties staple Carrie Anne. How's about that for chutzpah?

John Stacey
November-December 2004