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on 13 May 2012
Whenever you see a cd in the mother's day section of HMV you know it will be truely awful.
This sounds like a band having a period. The fat lad from barnsley at my work likes this, enough said.
Even their name is awful and reminds me of Roy Keane, the footballer, who I also despised, but at least he had some balls and could probably write music with more balls than this.
To sign off this music is so wet that even my mum won't listen to it.
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on 29 July 2012
Keane are an interesting band. They started off with a fantastic piano sound with some brilliant songs and this progressed onto the 2nd album which is my favourite. The band took a left turn for the 3rd album Perfect symmetry, which the band saw as a celebration of their music and because they were a band again after nearly breaking up. They took a lot of risks and tried many new things, putting off a few of the fans with such a radical change in style. Then came Night train; an experimental EP with rapper K'naan, which was also pretty risky. This album is a return to a much more simple, no thrills, no risks style of music. It is predominantly piano music and is most reminiscent in terms of sound to the debut album. Even though I prefer the sound of this album to Perfect symmetry, that album had clever moments and wasn't afraid to try something different, I definitely can't say that for this album at all. Even though the music sounds similar to Hopes and Fears, the early material from the debut and second albums was so endearing, captivating and emotionally driven, connecting me as a listener and this album has very, very little of that bequest.

The album's artwork says it all really - it's a scene of the seaside, taking a trip to the coast and is inspired by the band's early memories growing up. It's a nostalgic trip back to their roots. The whole album sounds to me like the soundtrack to a trip to the seaside!

Besides a couple of the songs on the album that old Keane melancholy has been excluded from the songs. What connected me to the band as a listener was how I could relate to their lyrics about loneliness, sorrow and hoping for better. This album doesn't represent any of those things, at least they're certainly not prevalent. Funny thing is Under the iron sea was written when the band were not getting on and Tom was suffering with addiction and it is their best work to date. Now the band members are all married and seem satisfied with life the music suffers as a result and is very unexciting. There's no doubt that the best music is inspired by pain and unhappiness! Now I am not saying that the album is tedious or the songs are bad because they're not. All the songs sound nice and pleasant but pleasant isn't good enough! It serves much better as background music than as life music you sit down to listen to.

Tom's voice is something I have to mention because even though it has improved from Perfect symmetry it still doesn't sound near as good as on the first 2 albums, not that it's bad at all because his voice is good just not as strong as it was.

You are young irritated me to begin with because there were a number of songs in the charts about being young - Tulisa's Young and Fun's We are young and this song isn't that great but gets across that soft, warm feel of the album. I have heard so many of the songs used as background music on so many TV shows and it's no wonder why because the piano music is nice to listen to. When I 1st heard Silenced by the night I was unimpressed but it is one of the best on the album with a catchy chorus. I don't know about Disconnected; the verses are very low register vocally but the chorus is catchy. I like the subject matter and it's 1 of the better songs. Watch how you go reminds me of a Paul McCartney song, with it's slow sound and higher pitched vocals; it's quite different from the other tracks. Sovereign light cafe (I'm guessing a place from their past) is 1 of the best easily with it's very upbeat rhythm and catchy chorus. On the road is the most consistent feeling track with another catchy chorus and very upbeat sound; my favourite. The starting line slows things down, once again with Tom referring to someone who needs to pick themselves up as they move on. The verse is slow but the chorus is pretty robust and attractive. Black rain is where you get the feel for a sorrowful Keane sound (nostalgia!) with a mournful and interesting chorus. Neon river is my other favourite (probably because I can relate to the lyrics a lot) with great lyrics and subject matter about sticking around while this girl moves on. It has a faster rhythm. Day will come is pretty cool with an upbeat sound and a catchy chorus. It's another consistent song rhythmically with I like. In your own time slows things down, and is another song with Tom once again reaching out with his assistance. I like the lyrics and the overall sound. The intro reminds me of Journey - Don't stop believing! and I enjoy the breakdown in the bridge/middle 8 and how it comes back round to the chorus. Sea fog is the other melancholic tune with a slow pace and a mournful sound. It sets a mood for sure.

The deluxe edition has 4 extra songs - Strangeland (why isn't the title track on the standard edition?!) is a slow paced song with lyrics about the past and a decent chorus with a good melody. Run with me is one of the best sounding songs here with a cracking, catchy chorus. Lyrically not incredible but it doesn't matter! The boys is not that good (lyrical content) but maintains that piano sound established in the album. It's not true is a slow, drudging track with quite a lacklustre sound throughout.

Keane need to become inspired! I like that they've transferred to the piano sound again but it's far too safe. There's nothing on the album that really grabs me and makes me think. They're a shadow of their former selves.
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on 7 May 2012
I have been a Keane fan ever since 2003, when the first songs from "Hopes and Fears" dominated my discman playlist in my late teens. I now listen to early songs like "Everybody's Changing" and "Somewhere only we know", and feel the nostalgic pull back to my naive era.

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. The band have admitted to keeping the production minimal on tracks like these, which I think is a bonus, as they remind you of tracks from "Under the Iron Sea", with the slightly purer, simpler sound. The piano is back, and this signature instrument sweetly compliments Tom's voice.

"Black Rain" takes Keane into new territory, with its meandering chords, and dreamy harmonies. It is the Untitled #1 2012, but part of me feels it perhaps could have kept going, or had a bit more of a driving baseline, especially with Jesse Quin now making a four-piece complete.

My favourite song is definitely the catchy "Sovereign Light Café", which will surely make a Bexhill landmark famous for generations now. Never mind if you haven't been to Bexhill-on-Sea. The lyrics about going down "to the rides on East Parade" and "to the bandstand on the pier" are universal enough to appeal to anyone who can remember sunny childhood holidays to the seaside, and all the feelings of the past memories like that evoke. Yet it is a personal enough song that it shows Keane really care about their journey, and this allows them to put a lot of heart into their music.

"Sea Fog" continues the habit Keane have of creating a corker of a ballad for a finale. Just like "Bedshaped" and "Love is the End", this song melts simplicity with bittersweet emotion, and the payoff makes for a satisfying and varied album.

If there is anything lacking from this album, it's that the undulating melancholy present on the first two albums is somewhat lacking. With the exception of tracks like "Sea Fog", the rest of the album is certainly melodious, energetic and memorable, but there are far too many major chords, and few too minor ones. This sounds like a trivial complaint. Keane are certainly in a more secure and happier time in their lives: they are all now married, so I guess it's understandable their music will be more uplifting. But 9 years ago, there was an undercurrent to their songs, that slight feeling of unease which gave their music more depth I feel. But this is still by far the best album since "Under the Iron Sea", so I can definitely recommend it to old and new Keane fans everywhere!
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on 28 May 2012
I'm not sure I've listened to the same album as other reviewers. This album is simply appalling.

Where do I start? Well, there are absolutely no standout tracks on this album at all. Previews reviews talk about "melody" and sure, there are melodies - but they are so dull, bland, vacuous and hollow that they are instantly forgotten. They make Coldplay sound like Slipknot.

The production doesn't help either - its been digitised into mushy oblivion. The vocals are so inoffensive that they have absolutely robbed the music of any soul or emotion whatsoever. Sure, he hits all the right notes on the aforementioned sacharrine melodies, but it actually sounds like he's been auto-tuned, its that robotically perfect.

It doesn't help that Tim Rice-Oxleys lyrics are frighteningly drab, either. The forgotten south coast seafronts he writes about have the potential to inspire some pretty dark, scarbarous and grim lyrics (I'm thinking of Morriseys "Every Day Is Like Sunday" as a benchmark). But no, T R-O just writes like a small town journalist, blandly describing the scenes with barely a hint of ennui. No wonder the singer couldn't muster the appropriate emotion - there is nothing worth emoting.

Its a shame, because after the similarly rubbish diversion of "Perfect Symmetry" (which does at least contain one glorious track) I was hoping Keane would go back to the template forged on "Under The Iron Sea", which really did contain a number of excellent songs and sounded brooding, spiky and foreboding. Instead, they've disappeared into bland MOR hell.

Clearly, mine will not likely be a popular opinion, but there is absolutely nothing to recommend this album for me. Keane appear to have gone backwards and frankly, need a radical rethink or need to retire.
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on 9 May 2012
Yet another insipid, bland, formulaic and truly over-produced collection of filler, with one or two nonsensical lyric passages thrown in for good measure. This is a band with SERIOUS talent, which makes it, in my humble opinion, all the worse.

There are no whistle-to-work hits here; just more bromidic and neutered flops.

It's passable, at best, but it's hardly their best work.
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on 13 May 2012
If 'Perfect Symmetry' was a venture into uncharted waters, then' Strangeland', despite its title, is definitely a return to safer shores. There have been some unfavourable critical reviews of Keane and in the past, and already this album has met with some flack. It seems that many corners of the the music industry do not take kindly to well groomed, well spoken lads from cozy East Sussex. It's just not rock 'n' roll to be clean living and well educated (criticisms that have been aimed at Coldplay despite their global success). Putting towns like Bexhill and Battle on the map must also leave some music critics reeling. East Sussex is certainly no Venice Beach or Route 66. But with their thought provoking lyrics about love and friendship, there is a warm nostalgia and originality to Keane's songs, and this album is no exception.

It was always going to hard for Keane to scale the dizzy heights of 'Hopes and Fears' again. It seems the done thing in music to 'progress' and 'experiment' rather than staying within your comfort zone. Keane would have been forgiven for delivering more of the same after the success of their first album, but they did explore different musical areas on subsequent albums, not least with the foray into electro 80's pop and general musical experimentation on 'Perfect Symmetry'. After seeing the introduction of saxophones, amongst other unlikely instruments on that album, and with musical influences abound, (especially Bowie on at least two tracks), it seemed Keane were set to continue to experiment and further explore the obvious influences of their 80s heroes. Their musical versatility is very apparent, not least when they strike unlikely partnerships with musicians such as K'Naan. Their versatility and open-mindedness probably stems not from just their many influences, but also from their early days as a covers band.

With Tom picking up the guitar and the appointment of bassist/guitarist Jesse Quin, I felt the band would become a more 'traditional' outfit with regular guitar work. As a fan, that did not really concern me, since great music is great music, regardless of which tools are being used to create it. But I can't deny that, as a keyboard player myself, I rather liked the originality of a piano-led band.

It seems though, Keane have opted not to continue so much with musical experimentation, but to inject a little of what made their first album so great. The great thing about 'Hopes and Fears' (and 'Under the Iron Sea for that matter), was that the songs didn't sound like anybody else, they just sounded like Keane. For me, 'Strangeland' has for the most part, returned to that originality. Piano-driven songs with a backwash of retro keyboard sounds, plus voice, bass and drums. It is not a cop out to resurrect the sound that made you famous, it's doing what you do best. When Keane are being Keane, they are truly original. If originality is key for any art form, then these boys have it in abundance, and they are at their best when they are revelling in it. If you can create a sound so that when people hear it they say "Yep, that's Keane", then you are doing something right.

So what of the songs themselves? Their trademark sound is all over the opening track, 'You are Young' , which starts tentatively but explodes into a typical anthemic stadium favourite. Black Rain is uniquely brilliant. The soundscapes they create on that song are an achievement that Coldplay would be proud of. Tom's voice sounds uncannily like Morten Harket of A-ha on this track, a quality I have noticed before, but I don't think this is a deliberate attempt to sound like the Norwegian songster, it's just that his voice happens to have a similar nuance. Aside from this, and the Lennon-esque feel to 'Watch how you go', I can honestly say I am unable to hear any other obvious musical influences on this album. (Except maybe the build up to the chorus in 'The Starting Line', which for some reason makes me want to break into Oasis's 'Little by Little'!)

Each song on 'Strangeland' is beautifully crafted and exquisitely sung. Richard's drumming is crisp and contemporary, but still subtle enough to let the songs breathe. Despite the band's obvious individual talents, there are no virtuoso performances that take centre stage, and all the musicians collaborate to a achieve harmonious sound.

Tim's songwriting prowess is no secret, and this album is thick with his signature melodies and harmonies. The piano riff in 'The Starting Line' has stuck in my head for days. Rousing choruses are abound, notably on 'Sovereign Light Cafe', one of the songs that champions the band's days growing up as friends in East Sussex. I personally find it rather charming to hear songs about unlikely places that are familiar to me as a 'southerner'.

'Silenced by the Night' is a cracking good listen, and an obvious choice for the flagship release. And despite the return to a more familiar sound, there are a few interesting developments. 'Disconnected', a fabulously upbeat track despite the despondency of the lyrics, sounds like Keane in some respects, but is also refreshingly new and exciting.

The album is still not 'Hopes and Fears', but all in all a satisfying return to form. If you are a Keane fan, you will love it. It's difficult to see how any lover of music couldn't like it since Keane create great music. But the beauty of music is its diversity and the diversity of people's tastes. So don't let anybody else tell you whether this album is worth buying or not. Just buy it and see for yourself!
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on 8 May 2012
I have been a massive Keane fan since they started back in 2004 after I saw them support Travis on a UK tour. Words cannot describe how beyond brilliant this album is all of 16 songs which is just over an hour long and I write this as I am listening in full all the way through again! There is not a single song to skip through at all!

It's great how discovering musical gems like this make life so much more worth living and much much sweeter!

There are not many bands albums I have where I don't have to skip through thankfully every Keane album I have loved every single track on every album and no need to skip any songs at all. Brilliantly crafted songs with maturely written great lyrics Tim Rice-Oxley is without doubt one of the best songwriters of our generation. Tom's voice is a brilliant as ever as is Richard Hughes Drumming and new member Jesse Quinn's bass.

I have to say that Sovereign Light Cafe must be one of the best songs they have ever written and this is my stand out track it's just a perfect song in every way. This is not to say the rest of the album is not Brilliant either

This is the bands very best since Hopes and Fears and yes it is. But I loved Hopes and Fears, Under The Iron Sea, Perfect Symmetry & Night Train all the same in there own individual ways. For me it shows that Keane are not afraid to try new directions and keep evolving there sound which is great there are too many bands these days who just shovel out the same style album after album.

I hope this album gets to number one and it deserves to stay there for a long time I just wish the music snobs would give Keane a chance as this album is far better than loads of the rubbish around at the moment. This album is also superbly better than Coldplay's recent offering and yes I am a Coldplay fan also.

Please I urge you ignore any unpositive reviews about this album go out and buy it this is easily the best album this year by a country mile! Buy it it is a must have for anyone who loves great music from the heart.


This Album just gets more and more brilliant the more I listen! It hasn't left my car CD player or off repeat on my walkman since release. I can garantee there won't be a better more brilliant album released this year. This is definately my album of the year without question!!

Tom Chaplin's voice is simply mesmarising I challenge anyone to find a better singer in a band because I can garantee there is no one who comes close.

Keane should be the band opening the Olympic Games in August! The Starting Line would make a great Olympic anthem!

EDIT 31.07.2012:

I would like to add that far too many people just slag Keane off inculding most music Critics because the see them as posh and there for uncool regardless of there music talent.

Keane are what good music is all about!

EDIT: 31.08.12

Music Critics who? none of you have a clue!

Seriously this album just gets better and better with each listen I am listening at least 5 times in full everyday!

Can't wait to see this genuinely talented band at The O2 arena in November definately the best live band I have seen! and yes I have seen alot of bands!
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on 6 June 2012
Strangeland continues the rather aimless trajectory of Keane since they patched up their differences, and sadly it looks unlikely that they will make another record as great as Under the Iron Sea. Without personal collapse or intra-band hatred to conjure real emotion and lyrical grist, they now resort too often to the `Fix You' manual of songwriting - windy platitudes of succour for the downhearted, set to a forgettable off-the-peg melody, which Tom Chaplin sings very nicely but without any conviction. `Watch How You Go', `The Starting Line', `Day Will Come', `In Your Own Time' - the titles hardly promise any great inspiration, and indeed the band were writing much better B-sides in their pomp. On the plus side, `Silenced by the Night' is a real grower and sounds much better in this context; `Black Rain' at least has some sonic texture; and finally, finally, a genuinely beautiful song called `Sea Fog', as good as anything they have recorded. The talent is still there, clearly - but they need to fall out again.
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on 16 December 2013
The majority of reviews here rate this album high and I don't criticise them, after all, reviews are very personal, but it makes me wonder how future Keane releases will be based on this success.

This albums tries to go back to roots in terms of sound, but fails miserably in terms of creativity. Long gone are the creative sound behind "Hopes & Fears" or the not less genious "Under the Iron Sea". I remember when I first heard Keane of the radio, not even knowing who they were & "Somewhere only we know" was playing.

The tune kept running for days and I had to know who they were. When I bought "Hopes & Fears", I stumbled with a perfect album, very catchy tunes and yet powerful lyrics & feeling behind it. The second album was almost as good as the first one, with the masterpiece "Atlantic" establishing Keane as a powerful creative force.

Never again I heard that kind of genious and when i ordered the third album, I feared Kean lost it.
With the forgetable Night Train & Symmetry behind, I was curious about this album.

The piano is back & so are the soft tunes from the first albums, but this "joy joy feeling" album fails to deliver musicaly. Nothing wrong with a "happy feeling" album, if you have a strong creative force behind it, this one doesn't.

Maybe I'm a bit too harsh on giving this release only 2 stars, but for a band to deliver 2 perfect albums only to realise they have been lost all this years & try such a poor comeback... is sad to say the least.

They changed sound, pace & direction... why? Bands can experiment, but leaving such creative music behind can only mean 2 things, either they lost it or they didn't like their music in the first place (which I find hard to believe).

Either way its sad to see a band doing such a poor effort with songs that remind me of a soap commercial, almost through the whole album.

Some interesting tracks are here, like "Silenced by the night", "Disconnected" or "Black Rain" but the album is unbalanced to say the least, with songs that fade from memory the moment i hear them.

They seem to be enjoying themselves, general reviews are good & I'm afraid this "return" will see Keane betting more on this easy sound, almost a sound to the "masses".

Long gone are the introspective, intimacy of "Atlantis", the melancolic sound of "She has no time", the simple genious of "Hamburg Song".... long gone is the genious of Keane, that sold out to easier tunes, to hum along a washed up version of what they were.

I hope I'm wrong and this is just a step towards what they were, since its impossible not to compare this work to past ones, they were so long far away from their roots that I'm afraid they got lost on the way back.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 26 August 2017
Admittedly I’ve come rather late to this album, but ‘Strangeland’ is the fourth studio album by Keane released back in 2012. This is an album filled with nostalgia, and regret, for simpler days, a time before adult responsibility and perhaps great pop success. It features achingly melodic and terminally sincere adult alternative rock songs. There are some stadium-swelling anthems featuring clap-along drums, stomping piano riffs that all have a melodic emotional reflex. Yet for me, the album never quite lives up to its very intriguing name, yes, the songs are all done well, but the maudlin ballads and at times monochrome synth-pop production, slightly let it down, but overall I enjoyed it and it's certainly worth your full attention and a listen. Four stars.
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