Strangeland is the 4th album by Keane, it is out the on 7th of May in the UK; this review is based on Deluxe edition which contains 4 extra songs.
I have to admit I have been a massive Keane fan for a while now, Keane have always appealed to me as a group, catchy songs, a huge voice and a piano as a lead instrument! But I’ve tried to as unbiased as I can…. I promise.
It has been 4 years since the last full album from the piano-rock group Keane. In the last outing the band shifted to a more electrical pop genre, a move which was both praised and vilified in equal measure. However, with Strangeland they have moved back to a more familiar territory which made their first 9x platinum album Hopes and Fears such a success.
While the sound of Strangeland is much closer to Hopes and Fears than to Perfect Symmetry, the mood of the album is not. Hopes and Fears could be called a grumpy album, a great album but with a downbeat theme. In Strangeland songs like Sovereign Light Cafe, On the Road and You are Young are positively upbeat. There’s still a great selections of songs about, love and loss if that is your thing though. Silenced by the Night is a song about falling out of love with someone. And it is lead single from the album and it easy to understand why, a soaring song that will immediately grab your attention and won’t let go; as lead single it does it job well.
Disconnected,is a song I heard many times well before the album came out, there is an early version of the song being played live on you tube and it is great song. But I believe that this song has suffered in years from those original performance, from a little too much from too much studio treatment. It is not the only misfire on the album The Starting Line never seems to live up the potential that song sets it self early on in the track.
In Strangeland there is the perfect mix of songs that are built to be played at huge festivals, or arena tours, and song perfect for a small acoustic gigs at the local pub. One of my favourite of the album is Sovereign Light Cafe; it is a coming of age song, the song’s vivid imagery, focuses your mind on the childhoods of the members of Keane; yet it has an eerily familiarity to everybody’s childhood, its tune is filled with beauty of growing up. Black Rain, has a radiohead esque attitude with an experimental song, which is strangely addictive to listen to. This song more than the rest just shows how much Keane have left to show the world, and a couple more song in this like would have been appreciated. Sea Fog , Neon River and Watch How You Go, are all excellent songs that I could listen (will) for hours and are what you expect from Keane, catchy, loud and graceful.
From the deluxe version you get 4 more new songs, and all these songs are great tunes that effortlessly fit in to the Keane catalogue, they don’t try to be too different but do the things Keane are known to do well. The boys is the highlight from deluxe version, it almost has Kaiser Chiefs style to it (something I’d have thought to have ever describe Keane being like before). While this album isn’t a game changer for the band, it does build on the already strong foundation the band has made before it. I would recommend the album, to Keane and non Keane fans alike.
8.5/10 – Standard – 9/10 Deluxe