Keane – Strangeland

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Want a little more indie rock, after being surrounded by pop tunes and synthesised bass? Keane’s Strangeland is the album for you.

Keane have been around since Hopes and Fears was released in 2004, and are probably best known for ‘Somewhere Only We Know,’ the first single to be released from the album. Since then the band have released two further albums, each with their own distinct feel as the band evolved to find its place in the music industry. Known as the ‘guitar free band’, Keane make use of piano and drums to create a very different type of indie rock music. An amalgamation of the best of each of these albums, Strangeland brings together the disparate elements of each album to create something new and yet familiar.

As this is Keane’s fourth studio album, I had high expectations of Strangeland, having loved all of their previous albums, particularly their first, Hopes and Fears. A long awaited album, (their first since Perfect Symmetry in 2008) it doesn’t disappoint. The album is the perfect mixture of their previous ones, with strong hints of the emotional core of the first two albums, while retaining some of the funky undertones of Perfect Symmetry. The songs on Strangeland reminded me of why I fell in love with Keane in the first place.

The only single to be released in the UK thus far, ‘Silenced by the Night’ is a solid track, reflecting the tone of the rest of the album. Catchy, meaningful lyrics are complimented by the upbeat piano beat, creating a memorable song while the chorus and bridge in particular really connected to me.

Another highlight of the album include ‘Disconnected’ with a strong chorus telling us that: “We walk in circles/The blind leading the blind.” ‘Sea Fog’ is a softer song, where lead vocals are joined by a simple piano to create a thought provoking song, supported by eerie echoes at key moments to give the track a very haunting feel. ‘On the Road’ is very upbeat for the band, almost verging on a dance song, but it complemented the rest of the album nicely. It’s a song you can’t help but tap your feet to, and is one of the best songs on the album. However, I found the techno beats in ‘Black Rain’ a little off putting, and I couldn’t help but wish Rice-Oxley was alone with just the piano, so I could concentrate on the lyrics.

Maybe not an album for everyone, particularly if you like heavy beats, but for a long time Keane fan it’s nice to see an album which feels organic to how the band has developed. The two previous albums seemed a little left field in comparison to the first, but this one brings it all together nicely. An enjoyable album that sticks with you long after you’ve stopped.

8/10

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Studying for my PhD focusing on Eighteenth Century Pirate Literature. Writer 2011-2013, Culture Editor 2013-2014, Editor 2014-2015, Culture Exec 2015-2016, Writer 2016-2017. Longest serving Edgeling ever is a title I intend to hold forever.

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