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|1. Somewhere Only We Know|
|2. Bend & Break|
|3. We Might As Well Be Strangers|
|4. Everybody's Changing|
|5. Your Eyes Open|
|6. She Has No Time|
|7. Can't Stop Now|
|9. This Is The Last Time|
|10. On A Day Like Today|
|11. Untitled 1|
In fact, versions of Keane had been slogging away on the toilet circuit for years before being picked up for a single on indie imprint Fierce Panda, in 2003. That single, Everybody’s Changing, gave the group their proverbial ‘overnight’ hit and a major label deal followed. So far so conventional, perhaps, but history tends to overlook the wilful unorthodoxy of early Keane. They were, let’s not forget, a three-piece group who could afford the ‘luxury’ of a non-instrumentalist frontman and who eschewed guitars altogether.
Everybody’s Changing – a universally accessible, 20-something whinge about being left behind by ones peers – remains the standout track on Hopes and Fears, the aforementioned chart-topper which was inescapable throughout summer 2004. On it, singer Tom Chaplin’s bruised chorister’s intoning comes across as not so much diffusion line Chris Martin as entry level Thom Yorke, with an added pinch of Bono and even a soupcon of Freddie Mercury in there for mainstream audience-sating good measure.
The album’s under-heralded kingpin is Tim Rice-Oxley – his battery of keyboards providing chunky rhythm, chiming contrapuntal melody and pulsing low end on undeniably hook-laden, deluxe indie-rock anthems like Somewhere Only We Know and Bend and Break. Indeed, there is no shortage of song craft here, and only the closing Bedshaped seems to truly justify Keane’s reputation for wetness – its lyrics of teenage diary self-doubt unmitigated by Oxley’s odd, Theremin-like tones or Richard Hughes’ vigorous drumming. Chaplin’s wanly emoting falsetto, just about credible elsewhere, here sounds aggravatingly ersatz and it suddenly becomes clear why, while some would canonise Keane, others just want to give them a good slap. --David Sheppard
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