tue 04/08/2020

CD: Keane - Strangeland | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Keane - Strangeland

CD: Keane - Strangeland

The Sussex quartet's new offering fails to build on recent form

Keane: or Wet, Wet, Wet?

To recap the Keane story so far: in 2004 three precocious middle-class boys stormed the charts with bland anthemic radio-friendly rock that used no guitars. Over the next six years, they then went on to experience the kind of growth that George Osborne dreams of. This culminated in the Night Train EP which not only contained guitars but managed the improbable feat of mixing in rap in a non-embarrassing way. Artistically, things were looking good. And when they announced with this year's follow up, the consensus was that their main problem would simply be the lingering issue of brand image.

But, disappointingly, Strangeland simply takes things right back to square one. The band claim it’s like “a 3D return” to the sound of their debut. But 3D tends to be a gimmick. And songs like "Silenced by the Night" sound as if they could have been written by their accountant.  Still, Tom Chaplin’s cherubic vocals, perched over these spacious arrangements do have a certain sweeping quality and the album's expansive keyboard sound harks back to the heyday of Eighties stadium rock. The problem is that there just isn't enough emotion you can believe in, meaning that half the tracks come over a little Snow Patrol-lite.

There are redeeming moments. In particular, four songs are pretty endearing.“Sovereign Light Café” and “Day Will Come” share the kind of shameless infectiousness that Coldplay have built their career on. And then there’s a nice change of mood on “Black Rain” where Dan Grech’s production combines with Chaplin’s voice to create an unlikely echo of Radiohead. But the highlight is the jangly “On the Road” which sounds like it could have been transported from mid-period Simple Minds. It’s just a shame then that so much of the rest of the record is as wet as an English summer.

Watch the trailer for Keane's Strangeland:

Most of the songs here sound as if they could have been written by their accountant


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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One day, someone will write a review about Keane without referring to the same old cliches of "the middle class boys" and "Tom Chaplin's cherubic voice". Be it a good or a bad review, it will be all the more refreshing to read! Also, there isn't a song called "Black River" on the album. There is however a song called Black Rain and another one called Neon River......

Thanks for correcting the typo. It was Black Rain ..................

Russ, have you ever been to a live show? There is enough emotion to turn your black heart red again. Don't get me wrong you are of course entitled to your opinion, and I, as a fan can completely accept criticisms of this band where valid, but this is drivel - Coldplay's "tunes" whilst are sing along have zero emotion and what are they about? Snow Patrol have repeated the same watered down music across 4 albums (When its all over & Songs for Polar bears NOT included). Keane have challenged and pushed there somewhat basic original sound, Strangeland is an intense, woeful and optimistic record. As Celine states same ole cliché's and sly digs at a successful British band.

Correction: the band didn't claim the new album to be a 3D return to H&F, that was a fan who made that comment to the band, which they rather liked

With all the respect you deserve because your knowledge about music, I think... if there's someone who writes a review and isn't able to write well a song's name, it is because that someone didn't make any effort to listen the song. OR, made the review to fulfill a requirement...

Music critics........ nobody understands them...

oh well, who cares? you get a free promo album to make a review. i buy their album and feel the songs like the soundtrack of my life. thats why keane is one of the biggest bands in england and probs the world. they arent big because they are the press darlings. they are big because people, ordinary human beings, loves them. and no, they dont need all the nonsense lazy reviews like yours :)

I agree with Paul.hardly anyone understands Keane.Love Keane's new record-optimistic songs,and a back to 'classic Keane' musical approach.

Aren't people tired of trying to compare Keane and Coldplay?? They have NOTHING in common. After reading this review I had a feeling that its author and I were listening to completely different albums. "Silenced by the night" could have been written by band's accountant? Seriously? Is that the best you can say? How absurd! A bit of advice - next time you write a review, listen to the album first.

Well i didn't even know the boys had anew one out! Cant wait to hear it,i do think the reviewers comments a bit harsh,hopes and fears was never bland,how insulting,it was full of emotion,heart shaped? did you ever listen to that track? no emotion? mmm ,you either like keane or you dont!

Are you kidding? Did you even listen to this album? Are you a descendent of Decca records? Tremeloes over Beatles?They give us melody, song; stop looking for Shakespear,he's a bore- hum along and enjoy, it's actual music, take it from a "baby boomer'.

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