Keane - Perfect Symmetry (Island)
Lisa Norman | Monday, 13 October 2008
Since their debut back in 2004, Keane has launched a massacre on British pop using their enticing piano-driven rock-style performances. The follow-up album left much to be desired, producing only a couple of beats and leaving lead singer Tom Chaplin checking himself into the Priory.
Yes indeed, times are hard for the popsters of today. So, during this hiatus have they reinvented themselves as the rumours would have you believe? Sadly not: it’s disappointing and all sounding very much old Keane.
The third offering follows in the same vein two years on. It’s not weak by any means, but it’s nothing new or sparkly. With a tinge of eighties thrown in for good measure, baby-faced Chaplin sounds the same old depressed person he was before.
It’s a typical Keane mix of piano-rock driven anthems with a few ballads chucked in as an afterthought. There’s nothing particularly uplifting about it either, so avoid this if you’re having a bad day, it could make it far worse.
Opener 'Spiralling' is a frenetic mix of synth and heavy guitar beats throwing the listener into chaos and confusion. The rap by Chaplin is distinctly odd and overbearing. First single 'The Lovers Are Losing' is an epic crowd-pleaser set to rule the airwaves this autumn.
'Better Than This' sees Chapin reaching some top notes. It’s terrifying stuff; a Bowie-esque offering delving into 'Ashes to Ashes' for inspiration. It’s on the right track but it doesn’t quite do it right.
'Again And Again' will be welcomed at live shows for its loud, energetic and memorable beat. It’s up-tempo and an instantly recognisable Keane creation. Final track 'Love Is The End' is the most poignant. It's haunting and empathic, sounding the least like Keane in terms of backbeat, perhaps making it more enjoyable for originality.
Current fans will love Perfect Symmetry. Others will perhaps steer well clear. It lacks the wizardry of Crystal Ball and Everybody’s Changing, and focuses too much on trying to be different. It failed.