6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Pleasent, charming pieces of music,
This review is from: Hopes and Fears (Audio CD)
2004 saw the breakthrough album from the once barely recognised band Keane, that went straight to number 1 and is still widely played even today. It's success lies within the simple yet well crafted songs throughout the whole album, with catchy hooks and recognisably British vocals. Alternative music seems to be a pretty easy affair these days - dreary, slow and even depressing music is a common sight so it is rare to find a band such as Keane. Yes, there are a few tracks that follow this trend but overall what we have here is a very pleasant, charming album.
Comparisons to Cold play are inevitable, but Keane do have one major difference - there are absolutely no guitars present whatsoever. Instead, Keane heavily rely on pianos to guide the tunes rhythms which do in fact work really remarkably well. This helps the tunes stay completely focused and produces a sound which is undeniably unique for Keane.
Album opener Somewhere Only We Know was the first single and it is evident why. A glorious upbeat tempo compiled with the infectious chorus creates a well balanced effort. It may start a little on the slow side, but the rhythm soon dives into one of the best songs of that year.
Bend and Break suitably follows in similar vein to track 1 and is another delight of a track. The chorus sores into traditional Keane fashion and is another very listenable track as a result. Track 3, We Might As Well Be Strangers, in comparison contains a slightly darker tone with the use of an electronic beat, and the tune plods along at a much slower, but still epic, pace. For me, slower tracks can be the epitome of dullness but this is not so for this track - at midway things come brilliantly to life.
Next in line is without a doubt the standout track, Everybody's Changing. Released as a single, this is the track that will always be associated with Keane with its incredible and instantly appealing melody and thoughtful lyrics supposedly derived from a member's departure. The mix of instruments is truly sublime. Once again, the follow up track Your Eyes Open features an intro that just draws you in and refuses to let go, and seems to have quite a serious tone to it which is retained throughout.
From here however, things take a slightly downward turn with She Has No Time which focuses more on vocals and is less interesting as a result. The same goes for Sunshine which is typically average and again lacks the prominent piano sound. Can't Stop Now luckily does have this trademark sound, with another more upbeat rhythm but somehow just does not stand out above the rest. Needless to say it's not exactly a bad track, and concludes in a nice soft manner.
The last single, This Is the Last Time, is yet another catchy hook, and while not as brilliant as Somewhere Only We Know or Everybody's Changing, sees Tom Chaplin's vocals really stand out on a level not seen since We Might As Well Be Strangers, as his voice literally comes out on a high.
On A Day Like Today and Untitled are merely the appetisers for the albums epic closer, Bedshaped. The former two tracks are easily skipable, and rightly so if it means coming to the conclusion. The album ends just as magnificently as it started with a slow yet unbelievably grand tune. The chorus sweeps along and it even contains a synth solo giving the track just that little bit more touch of class.
Overall, Keane have created a stunning debut album that easily rivals that of Coldplay. Their music may be simple, but they are clearly damned proud of it, and the result is an honest, approachable down to earth album worthy of purchase.