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New Keys - 1985 Acts Of Love

ARTIST: New Keys
ALBUM: Acts Of Love
LABEL: Ruby Records
YEAR: 1985


LINEUP: Tom Lofgren - lead, backing vocals, guitars, keyboards * Spencer Hoopes - keyboards, vocals * Paul Bell - guitars, vocals * Ronnie Newmyer - bass * Chuck Sullivan - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Acts * 02 Where I Fit In * 03 Secret Hearts * 04 Traitors Last Friend * 05 Give Me The Ring * 06 Matchstick Mansion * 07 Permanent Wave * 08 Holy War * 09 I Will See You Again

A while back one of our readers asked about this particular album in the GD forum and at the time I knew I had heard it and/or owned it, but couldn't be sure until recently digging through a stack of albums long stored away in the Abrahamsen vaults and presto - there it was! With pretentious cover art reminiscent of a Fellini film still, it would have been easy to pass over this slab of plastic mistaking it for a modern rock album if not for one name standing out on the back cover -Tom Lofgren, Nils Lofgren's younger brother. Tom was band mate with Nils in the underrated Grin as well as appearing on much of big brother's solo work and a talented guy in his own right. New Keys was the only project outside of the Nils Lofgren canon Tom was involved in that I am aware of and while the band became of prominent fixture in the Washington DC club scene, they never broke out of the nation's capitol in a big way, ironically much like Grin.

The Songs
This is a nice little record and better than I remembered. Lofgren's voice is very similar to Nils and the music is fairly typical of the time, power pop with some college radio touches featuring that over reaching 80's production style, but the tunes somehow rise above it all with tasty keyboard embellishments from Lofgren and Spencer Hoopes. Comparisons to a less-frenetic Matthew Wilder and the New Jersey based Fingers as well as brother Nils early 80's solo's prior to hooking up with Bruce Springsteen are appropriate and while songs like 'Where I Fit In' and 'Matchstick Mansion' are good period pop, the album as a whole does pretty well for itself.

In Summary
As far as what happened to New Keys after this album is unclear and I can't find much on Tom Lofgren's whereabouts these days either. 'Act of Love' is not a groundbreaking record by any means, nor is it essential but an interesting artifact nonetheless.

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#1 | super80boy on December 11 2013 03:56:36
Being from the Washington DC metro area, I see this record a lot in the various local used record stores. I bought this many years ago, but recently found a sealed copy for a couple of bucks. It's been many years since I spun this, so call it a re-discovery of sorts. The lead off title track is very charming up-tempo power pop wave. The record then settles down into a very melodic mid-tempo pop rock vein that is well played. Side Two starts with another new wave inspired AOR pop delight with 'Matchstick Mansion'. Next up is the groovy 'Permanent Wave', which creeps along with ear pleasing melodies and guitar riffing. Well done brother Tom.
#2 | gdazegod on December 11 2013 05:42:08
So Super, was the verdict a good one for you?

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