Keane is one of those bands who have made it a point to reinvent their music style every album. I was first captivated by Keane back in 2004, when they released their debut album, “Hopes and Fears”, reveling in the often melancholic emotion that each of their songs was attached to, perfectly portrayed by Tom Chaplin’s distinct voice, and the way he’d gasp for breath in parts of the song, that somehow makes the feeling of despair even more tangible.
Another unique characteristic of Keane is the absence of a guitarist, something that has worked to their advantage, because you get tunes that are more raw, and somehow more reflective.
When they released their second album, Under the Iron Sea, with “Is it any Wonder?”, you start seeing that they’re embarking on a journey towards something less morose. But you have songs like “Bad Dream” that beg to differ. The second album felt like an amalgamation of both the past and what is to come. I enjoyed the second album as much as the first.
Fast forward to 2010, with the release of Night Train, which includes 2 songs featuring Somali Canadian rapper K’naan. The melancholy has been replaced by upbeat saccharine beats.
The new songs are definitely a light year far departure from the old songs, but I remain in the middle as to whether it’s a departure I love or approve of, or whether I’m hoping they’d go back to where they came from. Tom Chaplin’s beautiful voice is still eminent but instead of sitting down in quiet, almost solemn contemplation while listening to Keane’s tracks (something I find myself doing when I listen to their earlier songs), I find myself bobbing my head, tapping my foot, and generally feeling the good energy of the newer songs. Between these two effects on me, I would say I like both equally, depending on the day and depending on my mood. My opinion on the albums is quite similar.
What I find myself missing terribly though is that characteristic way he’d gasp for breath at certain intervals of the song. It sounds a tad ridiculous I know, but I just can’t help looking for it. I won’t ever stop looking for it, which means I probably won’t ever stop listening to the addictive tunes that Keane continues to dish out either.
What are your opinions on the new album of Keane vis-a-vis the older ones? Which do you like more?