British trio Keane is returning with their first new record in four years when they issue Strangeland May 7.
With apologies to my hero Noel Gallagher, I loved Keane's first record Hopes And Fears. Sure it was lightweight but the combination of Tom Chaplin's soaring, too-pretty-by-half vocal melodies and Tim Rice-Oxley's piano arrangements made me want to go somewhere only I knew. Yes, I would have sustained innumerable, serious, sinister assbeatings if my meathead metal friends caught me listening to it back in the day but I got lost in the gooey pop confection in a way that rarely happens to me. There were a couple rubbish tunes but the best moments of the disc got (over)played to death in the privacy of my own iPod earbuds. The followup, Under The Iron Sea, underwhelmed me and quite possibly sucked. I didn't fucking bother with Perfect Symmetry, deciding to let Keane remain the band that made one nearly perfect meringue record.
That brings us back to Strangeland. Rice-Oxley tells NME "I love the idea of the journey through Strangeland being a journey of redemption."
Will I give this one chance? Will I let Keane try and redeem themselves in my ears? I've not quite decided. I think I'm just curious enough to give the first single from the 12-track set a listen and see what it does for me. I've always got Hopes And Fears for when I want candy-coated heartbreak, romance, and drama, which isn't often but it is the perfect album for those moments. And yes, I'm listening to it right now as I write this. And yes, it sounds every bit as lovely as I remember it. If I pass on Strangeland, there is a deluxe edition of Hopes And Fears. Keane may cash in on me in 2012 one way or another.
Here is the complete Strangeland tracklisting: