Tommy Keene returns with some sweet power pop 

Stardom is a fickle thing.

Who achieves it, who doesn’t. Or, even worse, who achieves it and then simply falls off the radar screen completely.

But every once in a while, you get a steady-pulsing blip that just won’t disappear, after coasting just beneath mass-market detection for years, even decades. Like Tulsa’s brilliant Dwight Twilley, for instance. Or the underappreciated perpetual power-popper Tommy Keene, who’s been going strong for nearly three underappreciated decades. Which he quite rightly reminded us of with a recent two-disc greatest-hits package, “Tommy Keene You Hear Me: A Retrospective, 1983–2009.” With extra snarkworthy points added for the squirrelly title alone.

But now the tireless Keene is returning Aug. 30 with another volley — “Behind The Parade,” via Second Motion, released on CD and ultrahip 180-gram vinyl.

There are more jangly sparkplugs pumping beneath the hood, like “Running For Your Life” and “Already Made Up Your Mind,” with stylistic surprises, a la the horn-punctuated “Deep Six Saturday.”

Keene burst onto the scene in ’84 with a six-song EP, “Places That Are Gone,” and was immediately snapped up by Geffen for his definitive full-length bow “Songs From The Film” (complemented by an equally chiming follow-up EP, “Run Now”). Then, he disappeared for seven whole years before re-emerging in ’96 with “Ten Years After.” And believe us, the guy has still got a way with an earworm hook, and — if there’s any justice in the world — maybe this time around the Top 40 fish will be biting.

Get keen on Keene at

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Tom Lanham

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