February 25, 2012

Keane return May 7 with Strangeland

Click to make giant so you can see Tim's very nice shoes.

My swoonpop favorite, Keane, returns on May 7 with
Strangeland, their first full-length record since Perfect Symmetry in 2008. The band now feels, as I do, that an element of magic was lost on that album. In my opinion, it was the overdone arrangements - it was only when I listened to the Sugababes' take on Spiraling (play it) that I appreciated what a truly stunning song it was. This time the band - officially a foursome now - promises a big emotional sound like their debut, the perfect Hopes And Fears. Strangeland has 12 tracks, whittled down from about 19 recorded...


1. You Are Young
2. Silenced By The Night
3. Disconnected (live)
4. Watch How You Go
5. Sovereign Light Café (live)
6. On The Road
7. The Starting Line
8. Black Rain
9. Neon River
10. Day Will Come
11. In Your Own Time
12. Sea Fog


The first US single is Silenced By The Night. Rumors say there will be a deluxe edition with 4 bonus track and a box set version with the bonus tracks and a book. The album was produced with Dan Grech Marguerat who produced, among other things, the recent Penguin Prison album.

XO's Top Ten Plus One Keane Songs:

Your Eyes Open
One of my all-time favorite songs, ever. Reminds me of Ultravox's classic Reap The Wild Wind in its grandness and beauty. Tom Chaplin brought back the romantic male vocal.
We Might As Well Be Strangers
I was on a hotel bed in London when I first played this (on headphones). I love how the song explodes at minute two.
This Is The Last Time
Anyone who says "this is the last time" never means it, do they? It's only when they don't bother to say it that they actually follow through.
Leaving So Soon
This song reminds me of someone important to me for many years - someone who I now so utterly dislike that I hid from him when I recently ran into him for the first time in five years. "A slap in the face for you now," indeed.
Everybody's Changing
The kind of chorus that appeals to many in its universal whynotme-ness.
The Frog Prince
One of the few songs on album two that matched the mood of their debut. Another song unafraid to wear its tender heart on its sleeve. Lovely middle eight.
Crystal Ball
A cringe-inducing lyric, I admit, but the song still works because you can't really hear the worst bits clearly. Knowing what we know now, it seems like a message from songwriter Tim Rice Oxley to singer Tom Chaplin.
Somewhere Only We Know
The Song Most Likely To. Everyone's covered this, the nicest version being Laura Michele Kelly's orchestral arrangement.
Snowed Under
The band's first set of b-sides (for album 1) were as high quality as the album tracks and this is one the finest. Hard to pick the best one for this list...
This 2008 single was a bold attempt to push the boat out and try something new. It is distinctly Bowie-esque, but the lyric has the same emotional resonance as their debut. "Did you want to be in love?"
Your Love
From the recent Night Train EP, this one has a vocal by Tim Rice Oxley, though it screams for a version with Tom on lead. It chugs along, but also has that ecstatic quality this band does so well. It should also be noted the final 30 seconds is like classic Madonna.

Want to revisit Keane? Do it at Grooveshark. And tell me what your favorite Keane songs are!


Tim said...


DanProject76 said...

Good news and good list! I would remove Crystal Ball ("cringey" indeed) and add The Lovers Are Losing (an album highlight) and Perfect Symmetry (it goes all epic and mad and I love that) and Is It Any Wonder (a rather angry Keane song!) for a perfect Keane compilation. They have made so many great songs.

Dan said...

My favorite Keane song of all time is probably a toss up between "Leaving So Soon" and the glorious "Bend and Break." I am also oddly fond of their version of Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road."

xolondon said...

They do great covers. My faves being Under Pressure and The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore.

Anonymous said...

Even Tim himself dislikes Crystal Ball: "I found Crystal Ball very hard. I just couldn’t write any lyrics for it, and I tried a bunch of different things. It took me months and months. I’m still not happy with the chorus. It’s totally impassioned and a very deep song, but it comes across as simplistic, I think."

Gudrun said...

I love Allemande and She Has No Time ( I stood open mouthed when I learnt the guy could pull that off live too!), the other favs depend on my mood. I was kind of satisfied to hear that even Mr. TR-O thinks Perfect Symmetry was about forgetting Keane virtues... and the absolute low of Keane musical output in my opinion was the collaboration with K´Naan and Tigarah. So let´s hope for a back-to-Keane-basics album 4!

xolondon said...

Sounds like classic Keane is what we'll get, but who knows. It's funny that one of my fave Keane songs is one they never did a studio version of, Early Winter.

CarolynG said...

Have and love all the Keane albums (standard versions) but seriously need to do some exploring. Covers? I had no idea beyond The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore. Like Dan I'd also add Perfect Symmetry, The Lovers Are Losing and Is It Any Wonder to a list of faves.

countpopula said...

OK, the trailer convinced me. This is gonna be an epic return! I even started getting misty when the background music started to soar, like the return of a long lost friend. It seems to have a nostalgia that brings back some of album #1 and less of that best left forgotten EP.