Monday, December 01, 2008

Album Of The Day #116: HOPES AND FEARS - Keane

Title: Hopes And Fears
Artist: Keane
Label: Interscope
Released: 2004
Songs: Somewhere Only We Know/This Is The Last Time*/Bend And Break/We Might As Well Be Strangers/Everybody’s Changing/Your Eyes Open/She Has No Time*/Can’t Stop Now/Sunshine*/Untitled 1/Bedshaped*
Written by: Tom Chaplin, Richard Hughes & Tim Rice-Oxley, except *by Tom Chaplin, Richard Hughes, Tim Rice-Oxley & James Sanger
Produced by: Alex Greene & Keane
Thoughts: Among some of the groups that are out there today, I have to admit, I like Keane. Their first album is actually pretty brilliant.
The thing I like about them is that even though they confined themselves to just piano, bass and drums, they push their medium to the limit. The really cool thing about this is that you even forget that no one in the band plays guitar on the record. One of my favorite tracks is “This Is The Last Time”. “Everybody’s Changing” is also really cool. You have to remember with this group, though, it’s not lyrical ideas that they lean on, but it’s their production and musicianship. Plus the vocals are very good. Chaplin (vocals) has this sweet, sugary voice that mixes perfectly with the clean-cut performances behind him. Hughs (drums & percussion) is original and Rice-Oxley's (piano & bass) playing is exquisite as well. If there is one problem with the band it might be that they are too clean. With bands these days, they tend to forget that music is really about having fun and being perfect isn’t necessarily expected, especially on your first LP. Another weak spot is the attempt at an epic. “She Has No Time”, at just over five and a half minutes, is an obvious try for a symbolic crash, but it proves to be a little weak. The vocals are terrible, because Chaplin doesn’t have a good falsetto, which is pretty obvious every time he tries to stretch out “…And she says…she…has…no…time….!” Still, the other members are allowed to shine with their own solos blaring, but it doesn’t really save the track. It could have been much shorter and probably would have been a little bit more enjoyable.
By the time you reach the end of the album, you realize that these three guys have a pretty good sound set for them and I have to admit, they’ve got a bright future ahead of them…as long as there’s still room in the music industry for truly creative artists.
Tomorrow, I’ll cover their second LP, Under The Iron Sea.

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