Album : Strangeland
Artist : Keane
Genre : Alternative Rock
You all remember Keane don’t you the band that pointed out to us that everything in life is a ‘Perfect Symmetry’ and ‘what you do will be done to you’. Yes the English(and by english i don’t mean the language, i mean their origin) Alternative Rock band has released their 4th studio album(I’m guessing EPs don’t count right?) titled ‘Strangeland’. Now strangely enough (no alliteration intended) Keane always evoked a mixed response from its listeners and i found out that the band had more followers when it released its initial albums ‘Hopes and Fears’ and ‘Under the Iron Sea’ that gave us some beautiful tracks like ‘Somewhere only we know’ , ‘Everybody’s changing’ , ‘A bad dream’ & ‘Crystal Ball’ to listen to, but the numbers significantly reduced on the release of their 3rd album ‘Perfect Symmetry’.
I had listened to only the self titled track ‘Perfect Symmetry’ from the album and i thought the album was pretty good and was doing a good stint in the sales too. But turns out i was living in the shadows then i had to undergo ordeal of listening to the entire album to learn what went wrong? Turns out Keane were identified by their fans for their elegant piano, their soft drum beats, their intriguing chorus and lyrics with emotional depth and maturity! (Mind you ‘Perfect Symmetry’ the track has all the above hence the deception). But Tom Chaplin & Tim decided to digress on their 3rd album and tried to be more expressive with music and less concordant with lyrics. As a result ‘Perfect Symmetry’ tried to sound more like the 80’s Pop Synth music with distorted sounds and loud vocals and the fans didn’t greet the change wholeheartedly thus a substantial amount of people denounced the changes. However lets see if the 4th album can spin some magic for the band and help them in reviving the band’s lost glory!
|You are Young|
|Silenced by the Night|
|Watch How You Go|
|Sovereign Light Cafe|
|On the Road|
|The Starting Line|
|Day Will Come|
|In Your Own Time|
1. You are Young
After listening to Gotye’s album i can see some similarities in the vocal modulations and the sounds to a palpable level (bloody Brits as it is your accent is unbearable and now there is no individuality) lol but that aside, the track is a mesmerizing start ,with pleasing and anthemic qualities delivering just what the faithful Keane fans were expecting , melodic piano notes, with soft drum beats and with slight influence of Coldplay lurking in the track. A definite pass.
2. Silenced by the Night
Tom’s vocals sounds more deeper louder and clearer and more intense (not complaining) and so does the piano or the drums. The chorus is just too real and melodic for a song (no no in a positive sense). The construction of the track might sound a wee bit crude but you must be a cognoscente with music to notice it (lol jk) the lyrics are also quite beguiling.
I just couldn’t stop myself from listening to this track over and over again. The song is simply exquisite and the chorus that’s so redolent of the Beach Boys that it’s sure to help lift up your spirits. ‘We walk in circles with the blind leading blind’ whattay lyrics too! Halfway through the song there is a suppression in the tempo only to be revived back shortly.
4. Watch How You Go
The first three tracks more or less blend into one and other and there seems no disruption but then a sudden drop in the tempo is introduced with the 4th track. Seems mildly inapposite but the song individually poses as a beautiful ballad. Tom’s vocals looks like he hasn’t let go of his soprano voice! Though melodious it becomes draggy after 3 minutes.
5. Sovereign Light Cafe
Another beautiful track from the album, the way Tom & Rice-Oxley start off this song following the pace of the previous track is beyond praise worthy Tom’s vocals are just heavenly you cannot stop yourself from listening to the first few lines over a dozen times. I take back my criticism on Tom’s voice from the previous track this is just sheer display of musical flair.
6. On The Road
Nothing particularly impressive about this track, there is a quick change of pace and all of a sudden it’s all bouncy and energetic and the the voice is slightly distorted at parts the chorus doesn’t help much too! Given time and a few chances this track may grow on you.
7. The Starting Line
After the brief stint of increased tempo it’s back to slow pace of the songs and ‘The Starting Line’ sounds a bit melancholic too, ‘you still believe in me after the things i have done’ yes definitely a depressing track and it lives up to its stereotype. Plenty of high and low pitch voice modulations in the song makes you wanna try it out once.
8. Black Rain
Ok now looks like the streak of slow and eerie tracks haven’t ended with ‘Black Rain’ being even more somber more electric and resembling the ‘Watch How You Go’ track in a duller version. The chorus brings some respite and elevates the quality of the song. Give it a try.
9. Neon River
This track arouses a slight suspicion if Keane has got back to the ways of experimenting with electronic beats which lead to the failure of their previous album but as the song progresses you feel your doubt alleviating but nevertheless not very impressive in any aspect you might as well avoid it given the number of better tracks to try out!
10. Day Will Come
Things finally seem to get a little lively and this time gradually so that its not harsh on the ears when you are listening to the entire album. The vocals are severely overpowered with the piano guitar and the percussion sounds but bearable doesn’t irk you out.
11. In Your Own Time
A subtle drop in the mood as the track starts half heartedly with Tom’s voice again being pall and sluggish and he tries to pick up his pitch as the song proceeds ,the different components of the song just doesn’t seem to agree or complement each other but after halfway through the song it gets interesting. Looks like the temper has been set for an ending.
12. Sea Fog
Just because its the last track doesn’t mean it has to sound like an eulogy (other bands pliss make note) but sigh Keane has made this track too dramatic and slow!
Though evoking mixed response from their fans with the release of the 3rd album Keane need not have any ambiguities regarding the success of their 4th studio album! Its adeptly crafted and has many things to look out for. Though the album could have done without a couple of tracks its much more than an improvement from their previous album and Keane did a good thing reverting back to their original style and experimenting less !