- Keane choose their favourite albums as guest editors of Amazon.co.uk.
At its best, Hopes and Fears is reminiscent of Bends-era Radiohead and singer Tom Chaplin's voice is closer to Thom Yorke's falsetto then Chris Martin's cracked whine. On tracks such as the hit single "Somewhere Only We Know", they manage to squeeze an epic-sounding poignancy from their stripped-down sound (a lot of this is due to the album's superb production). Across 12 tracks, all this slow-burning melancholy skates a bit close to self-indulgence and you can't help but wish they'd rock out a bit. But Hopes and Fears is still a remarkable and surprisingly mature debut album from a young band with a bright future. --Robert Burrow
I'm still unsure whether the album will bear up to repeated listening, but at the moment I'm enjoying a wonderfully-written, heartfelt album by what I expect to become the biggest Indie crossover success since Coldplay.
What makes the lyrics special is that they are universal. There is no mention of anyones name or of places. It is all told with 'he, she, us, them' which makes is easy to relate to. And the masterstroke is the different takes on situations. This is not told from any one persons point of view.
Let's start of with the sublime 'Bedshaped'. The song itself goes through two very different, yet understandable, emotions experienced at the end, or near-end, of a relationship. It starts off with the beautiful recollection of past times: "Many's the time I ran with you down / The rainy roads of our old town / Many's the lives we lived in each day / And buried altogether." The lyrics then take on a more darker view: "You will follow me make with the sun in your eyes and on your own / Beshaped and legs of stone." It's a wonderful piece of writing echoed by a stunning piano melody.
Then there are other perspectives. 'On A Day Like Today' gives us the tale of a love that is kept hidden: "If you only knew the way I feel / I'd really love to tell you / But I can never find the words to say."
'She has no time' is told from the point of view of (possibbly) a friend comforting another, or maybe just a shared experience: "My heart opens up to you / When she say she has no time for you now.Read more ›
Luckily, Keane and this album are altogether different. For a start, in Tom Chaplin Keane have a great, versatile voice capable of projecting the songs' abundant emotions with both strength and delicacy. Although quite unique, in different places his singing reminds me of several other good voices such as Morten Harket of A-ha, particularly regarding the range, and mid/late-80s Hugh Cornwell of The Stranglers (the track Untitled I could be that very band from that era). The melodies, bridges and other changes are interesting throughout this CD, and most amazingly for an album today I don't feel the urge to skip any songs. On the contrary, even if I've just enjoyed a favourite and wouldn't mind listening again, I'll wait for the disc to wrap. While obvious influences such as an occassional 80's U2-style piano riff may be present here and there, the band and album have a distinctive sound.
I also like the style of writing/lyric, where the exact meaning isn't clear, leaving the listener to interpret what the song is about.
To wrap up, this CD has rekindled my hopes for modern music. With a bit of luck the band will cope with success and go from strength to strength with an equally strong follow-up.