It's perhaps inevitable that Keane's debut album, Hopes and Fears
, will draw numerous comparisons to Coldplay. Like them, Keane were discovered by indie label Fierce Panda, who released a single ("Everybody's Changing"). And, like Coldplay, Keane also do a fine trade in catchy and heartfelt indie-pop, all bruised verses and soaring choruses. But though their sound is sure to please fans of Coldplay and Travis, the reality is that Keane manage to sound that little bit more delicate. This could be down to the band's relatively unusual make-up: rather than guitars, the trio use a piano.
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
Special edition Universal Island Records 2004 release, including 'Somewhere only we know' & 'this is the last time'.