Perfect Symmetry Enhanced
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KEANE Perfect Symmetry (2008 UK 12-track enhanced CD album - One of this decades most loved bands Keane return with their 3rd album. Perfect Symmetry marks a colourful and bold return from the 3 piece; and includes the single The Lovers Are Losing the previously download-only Spiralling; plus a CD-Rom Section containing interviews wallpapers screensavers and more...)
Would it be outlandish to suggest that wholesome rugby-shouldered ruddy-faced English piano-pop boys Keane have spent the best part of their two-album career fanning the impression that they exist somewhere between an easy Mothers Day gift and the album its ok to give your girlfriend back when you split up, just in order to blow everyone out of the water like 80s neon-pop commandos with the boldness of their third? You know, utilising the element of surprise? Probably, but even though their debut (Hopes & Fears) and its follow up (Under the Iron Sea) may have been broader creative successes than many care to admit, it is true that Perfect Symmetry is a synth-brandishing Tyrannosaurus Rex next to those trundlingly melodic Trojan horses. From the moment "Spiralling", the single that made a nation choke on its Yakult, erupts like a Top of the Pops volcano with flashes of David Bowie, Talking Heads, Erasure, Prefab Sprout and James, amongst others--with the "WHOOOO!" interjections impacting like lava hitting an LA swimming pool and sending cocktails flying--the album is generally as taut, bulky and bronzed as a teen Arnold Schwarzenegger. Old habits die hard and there is still much in the way mid-paced melancholy, but they are sung with clarity and the songwriting stays tight with some deep lyrics and turns of phrase to balance out the vague and which presumably reflect Tom Chaplins documented decent into addiction. "Playing Along", a beautifully arranged set of textures and gathering emotional bursts, is a particular high. --James BerrySee all Product description
Top customer reviews
A perfect blend of the few high tempo hits from `Under the Iron Sea' and the more relaxing ballad's of `Hopes and Fears'.
Almost a perfect album starting with the potential hits (Spiralling, Lovers are Losing and Better Than This.) followed by a string of complementary tracks; ending with a run of three very different, but wonderful tracks.
The title track `Perfect Symmetry' demonstrates perfectly how each element of the Band has evolved from the last album. Much has been made of the inclusion of the guitar, but its Tom's vocals that define the Music of Keane. If you are in doubt, listen to the demo tracks on the 2-disc edition.
The album has the overall feel of being `Very 80's' in tempo and while the music is still based around the piano, there is more integration between the drums, guitar and computerised samples.
The only thing preventing me giving this album 5 star is the slightly disjointed middle section.
`Again and Again' lifts the mood after the nice heart-felt ballad `You Don't See Me'. But the flow is again broken by the only disappointing track on the album `Playing Along' which, should have been replaced by the Bands other new slow tempo b-side/bonus track called 'My Shadow' or maybe a studio version of Early Winter.
But don't worry, the final three tracks provides the perfect ending, culminating with `Love Is the End'.
It must also be noted that the single version of `Spiralling' differs very slightly to the album version.
It's not Keane as we know them, but yet distinct and different enough to fill another gap in the market.
Anyone who enjoyed 'All the Lost Souls' by James Blunt should consider this,
as should any followers of The Killers, who are discontented by 'Day and Age'.
I have always held a certain fondness for the music of Keane. They have been mocked for their looks, and for being upper class, and the singer's spell in rehab was scorned by many (the comment that he was in there for an addiction to port was a sick joke) but their music has almost always been solid and enjoyable, and when they play live they are surprisingly good as I found out earlier this year.
For some reason, Keane changed their sound with this album. Some of the tracks hark back to the 1980s, and one appears to sample David Bowie, and for me it doesn't really seem to work that well. Don't get me wrong - there are some great tracks here, such as "Spiralling", "The Lovers Are Losing", "Perfect Symmetry" and "Again and Again" really seem to work - but then others have jarring sounds and elements that are almost a step too far from a successful formula. As an album it's alright, but not the masterwork some have made it out to be.
(c) All Music Journals and Magazines
In common with all other music journalists, we may over the past 4 years have inadvertantly given the impression that Keane were somehow 'not very good'.
With some reluctance, words and phrases such as 'rubbish', 'derivative', 'laboured', 'boring', 'worse than coldplay', and 'unacceptable even in the 80s' may have been used in relation to this superb band.
As of the release of this 3rd, genre challenging album we accept that we were wrong, and Keene are in fact the best band that ever recorded or played a single note ever, being even better than Coldplay.
We therefore apologise to our readers unreservedly for any confusion that may have previously been caused.
Perfect Symmetry is another step in their evolution. Where Under The Iron Sea dabbled in bleak, atmospheric soundscapes and rockier anthems, P.S. is unashamedly a pop record. When opener Spiralling blasts out of your speakers you'll swear you've accidently slipped in Now That's What I Call The 80's.
The Lovers Are Losing is hooky and immense, while Ashes to Ashes pastiche Better Than This and You Haven't Told Me Anything combine synths and quirky pop eccentricity to winning effect. You Don't See Me has the feel of one of those warm, wise, later period-Queen ballads and Perfect Symmetry is one of the strongest melodies the band has yet written.
Perfect Symmetry is also the first album I've bought since Randy Newman's Sail Away to engage in a theological argument with itself, and for that alone I'm tempted to give it the full five stars. With Perfect Symmetry dismissing the false hopes of Heaven and condemning the destructive influence of 'an eye for an eye' in an age of new holy wars; Pretend That You're Alone painting absence of faith as a convenient self-delusion to disregard any external moral imperative and obey your every animal impulse. It's utterly refreshing to have an album encouraging you to ask these questions, and actually think for yourself. Next up, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs release a double A-side addressing the relative merits of moral absolutism vs moral relativism in determining US foreign policy? No, thought not.
The second half of the album is less led by it's experimentation, more the 'Keane with knobs on' approach of Iron Sea. But the quality of songwriting remains so high, the band have proved all they need to prove.
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