Long-running pop-rock luminaries The 88 have become an on-again, off-again proposition as they negotiate their second decade as a creative force. The quartet’s seventh album came out in 2016, their previous in 2013. In the meantime, frontman Keith Slettedal has released solo work; keyboardist Adam Merrin has joined up with rejuvenated Paisley Underground greats The Three O’Clock and produced an album by Fire Chief Charlie; and Todd O’Keefe (smile when you see him described as “the charismatic and satisfactory bassist of The 88”) has also released solo work — about which he remains humorously self-deprecating. O’Keefe’s bio goes on and on how the world has plenty of songs and there’s no need for anybody to write any more, but … ho-hum, oh well … since he went to the trouble, we might as well listen.
Good advice. On Friday, O’Keefe released his second full-length in as many years. “Salvador” follows 2017’s acoustic guitar-based “Uptown.” (Aside: “It’s a lot different than the last record, but if you didn’t like that one, you probably won’t like this one either,” he writes.) His electric guitar twinkling, the onetime member of the late, great The Green and Yellow TV (who has played with the likes of Jeff Beck, Black Francis, Ray Davies and the Posies, among others) crafts retro-pop gems that should make all the garage-pop revival kids envious. Fans of classic pop and power-pop will nod in approval. And “Sentimental Fool” arrives just in time to counterbalance all the overproduced synth-pop on your Valentine’s Day mixtape.
||| Stream: “Sentimental Fool”
||| Watch: The video “Sentimental Fool”
||| Also: Stream “Salvador” in its entirety via Spotify