- Audio CD (7 May 2012)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Box set
- Label: Island
- ASIN: B007CVZE0Q
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 129,838 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Strangeland (Super Deluxe) Box set
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Strangeland is the fourth studio album by East Sussex band Keane, and the first from the four-piece since Perfect Symmetry in 2008. The album was produced by Dan Grech-Marguerat and was inspired in part by his work with New York indie band The Vaccines, with Keane aiming for a more back-to-basics sound based on songwriting rather than production. Strangeland features the single "Silenced by the Night".
This special deluxe edition of Keane's Strangeland contains a 20+ page hardback A4 size coffee table book, CD and DVD. The book features exclusive photos from the Strangeland sessions, taken by long-time Keane collaborator, Alex Lake. The CD includes the deluxe edition album, with four additional studio recordings. The DVD features live performances by the band and exclusive behind the scenes footage of the making of the album.
It doesn’t get much more play-safe and back-to-basics than this. 2008’s Perfect Symmetry saw mega-selling East Sussex band Keane surprise sceptics with a galvanised twist of electro-pop, retro-tooled to emulate early Simple Minds. Arguably they did this with more guile and pizzazz than The Horrors, but the fanbase must have flinched as Strangeland, belying its title, is an unabashed scurry back to the comfort zone. If it doesn’t match 2004’s insanely popular debut Hopes and Fears commercially, it’ll reassure that mysterious, critic-immune mainstream that buys Coldplay and Snow Patrol records that Keane are polite gentlemen who won’t harass your daughters or scare the horses.
Sweet, unthreatening melodies abound, then, sung with porcelain-choirboy competence by Tom Chaplin and written and arranged by Tim Rice-Oxley, whose keyboards dominate. While he finds enough effects to vary the tone, there returns a sense that for all their tugs at emotion, Keane lack blood, guts and muscle. There’s a nod at Radiohead on Black Rain, and On the Road is proud of its peppiness; but most songs blur into a faint facsimile of Genesis’ 1978 hit Follow You, Follow Me or slide cosily into the wistful, mid-tempo ballad shapes patented by U2 in the 90s.
It’s textbook-inoffensive, though a couplet in the single Silenced by the Night, a kind of toy-town Echo & The Bunnymen, smothers you in cliché-cheese: “If I am a river, you are the ocean / Got the radio on, got the wheels in motion.” They’re more palatable when waxing nostalgic about their teenage years, a recurring theme, and on Sovereign Light Café – “We were friends and lovers and clueless clowns” – convince with Springsteen-esque romanticising of youthful frustrations. They achieve more grandeur when taking the foot off the ‘epic’ pedal than when blowing hard.
Recorded at Rice-Oxley’s studio with producer Dan Grech (Radiohead, The Vaccines, Lana Del Rey), and now a four-piece with bassist Jesse Quin a full member, the piano-rockers can’t be too carped at for doing what made their name. Yet those glimpses on Perfect Symmetry of something flashier and sexier make this retreat to familiarity a somewhat saddening step backwards.
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Top Customer Reviews
Nostalgia is at the heart of Keane's 4th studio album, "Strangeland", and it is certainly a return to the classic Keane ambiance. They've swapped the electronic experimentation of "Perfect Symmetry" with melodic piano pop-rock, emotional ballards, and soaring, driving anthems. They do a really good job of it as well. Certainly for an old-timer fan like myself, a return to form is something I never expected, but something I am very grateful for.
"You are Young" and "Silenced By the Night" begin the journey on the road, and are both driving, energetic anthems which will lift your mood. "Strangeland" is quite a paradoxical title for a record which is largely happy and upbeat.
"Disconnected" is an album highlight, with Tom Chaplin showing his vocal versatility by singing in quite a low register at first. Bizarrely the melody is redolent in my ears of "I'm an Urban Spaceman" by the Bonzo Dog Band, but that is great, because it means the tune is both dark and playful at the same time.
3 tracks in, and they all pass the hummable test. You can hum the melody to yourself on a whim. That is Tim Rice-Oxley's composing triumph. He is the master of melody in today's musical world.
"The Starting Line" and "Watch How You Go" are two wonderful ballads, which are destined for sing-along-crowds at T in the Park or V festival later this year.Read more ›
Having soared with 'The iron sea', world tours, live DVD & all sorts of singles & promo's selling like hotcakes over on the bay, it looked as if the lads were about to launch off into mega stardom.
Ah well, what do I know eh?
This album see's an unexpected & very welcome return to form. Don't get me wrong, this is not a re-hash of the sounds of their first two albums. Except for Tom's instantly recognisable voice this would not be easily seen as a Keane album.
The melodies are at times quite beautiful, 'The starting line', is for me anyway, as lovely as anything that's gone before. It's a real joy to listen to the music as well as the singing. Strong keyboard work alongside tight rhythm underpins some very strong lyric's.
There is a constant sadness underpinning most tracks & it lends a weight that was missing to most of the previous album.
Tom remains unique & his voice is as powerful as ever.
With smart song writing skills to the fore & top notch musicianship, ( a new band member, Jessie, has clearly done no harm), alongside the signature Keane sound this is a strong entry both into the their releases & the years albums.
Great stuff & easily recommended to Keane fans & newbies alike.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good album, several catchy tracks. Not as good as Beneath the Iron Sea in MHO but still great listening if you are a fan like me.Published 16 days ago by Wildheart Chris
Having not heard much of Keane (since the superb 'Hopes & Fears) I thought I'd give this a chance when I chanced upon it in a 'Bargain Bin'. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chris g
Not terrible, not bad at all in fact but just not quite as good as their earlier efforts.Published 4 months ago by daveboygreen
I love this Album.
After living down in East Sussex for many years in Bexhill on Sea this album will always remind me of my time there especially when I hear the 'Sovereign... Read more