Behold! The first review in our summer spectacular (or whatever you want to call it). I’m glad I picked this one (at random) first; I hope to have as much fun writing about this album as I did listening to it.
Keane’s first album Hopes And Fears (2004, Interscope Records) was a decidedly light affair. Perfect for those “variety” stations some people seem to love. It was a fairly enjoyable affair.
Their sophomore album starts off with the extremely trippy Atlantic, which fuses the familiar piano sound the band is known for with some almost creepy synth rhythms and effects. It then moves into the up-and-coming hit Is It Any Wonder?, which seems more like a typical Keane song. But this time things are different. These first two tracks signify the change the band has made from a soft-rock favorite to more of a power-pop powerhouse.
But don’t be mistaken: fans of the band will not be disappointed, as the band doesn’t stray as far from its roots as they might want you to believe. Tracks like Leaving So Soon? and Nothing In My Way will become instant favorites with Keane fans. Loud drums (especially the snare) and overdriven guitars almost overpower the piano as we hear the band begin to be more daring and open. The lyrics are nothing revolutionary, but they fit. The singer’s voice seems to work well with the band’s sound as well.
For those not familiar with Keane’s style, I shall now attempt to describe it. Imagine a normal band with an upbeat, light-hearted sound made from two guitars, a bass, and drums. Now replace the rhythm (backup) guitar with a piano. The piano is used pretty non-traditionally as a result. It’s an accessible sound that anyone can enjoy.
However, my favorite part about this album might just be the packaging. The fold-out included has lyrics on one side, and stunning artwork on the reverse. It’s a great addition to this album and really works along with it. I recommmend listening to this album while gazing at the incredible artwork. It really is a unique experience and is, in my opinion, the selling point of this album. Do not buy this album from iTunes (sorry, Apple): buy it in a store or somewhere where you can get a physical copy of this album/artwork combination.
This album isn’t a revolution for the band, more of an evolution into a more rock-like form. With these changes, Keane has made a genuinely enjoyable and upbeat album that, as I’ve said, anyone can pick up. I had a pretty fun time with this album: although some of the songs take serious listening time to fully appreciate, it provides a good experience, especially for Keane fans. Four out of five.
Keane’s 2006 album Under The Iron Sea is available now from Interscope Records
- Is It Any Wonder?
- Nothing In My Way
- Leaving So Soon?
- A Bad Dream
- Hamburg Song
- Put It Behind You
- Crystal Ball
- Try Again
- Broken Toy
- The Frog Prince
Definately get: Atlantic, Is It Any Wonder?, Hamburg Song, Crystal Ball
I can’t really tell you to avoid any tracks; none of them were particularly bad to me.