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Deluxe edition includes four bonus tracks. 2012 release, the long-awaited fourth album from the British Pop band. Keane is singer Tom Chaplin, drummer Richard Hughes, keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley and bassist Jesse Quin. Four years have elapsed since Keane's last album Perfect Symmetry; two since Night Train, the EP which followed its three full-length predecessors to the top of the British album charts, securing them a place in pop history. If Keane's feverishly loyal fan base wondered what the group's next album would sound like, they weren't the only ones. In the eight years following the release of 2004's 9x platinum Brit award winning Hopes & Fears, every Keane album has marked a clear progression from the previous one: the anxious emotional terrain mapped out by Under The Iron Sea to the iridescent poptimism of Perfect Symmetry. Strangeland was produced by Dan Grech (Radiohead, The Vaccines, Howling Bells), recorded at Sea Fog, Keane songwriter/pianist Tim Rice-Oxley's studio in South Downs, UK.
KEANE STRANGELAND (DELUXE EDITION)
|Audio CD Release Date:
||May 08, 2012|
|Number Of Discs:
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 102 reviews|
|1. ||You Are Young|
|2. ||Silenced By The Night|
|4. ||Watch How You Go|
|5. ||Sovereign Light Cafe|
|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|
|14. ||Run With Me|
|15. ||The Boys|
|16. ||It's Not True|
Average Customer Review:
( 102 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 40 found the following review helpful:
It's NOT another Hopes and FearsMay 11, 2012
Some professional reviewers have bashed Keane for playing it safe with the piano sound reminiscent of Hopes and Fears. But the similarities are pretty superficial. Strangeland is much more personal, and has elements of Perfect Symmetry as well as Hopes and Fears.
Songs like "Bend and Break," "Everyone's Changing," and "This is the Last Time" were about changing relationships. They had widescreen epic melodies, and we all remember these as among Keane's best songs. The lyrics were general and could apply to anyone: "When you forget your name/ When all faces look the same..."
Basically speaking, Keane writes songs about relationships and the difficulties of life and upbeat or encouraging songs, or songs that offer advice. I've always preferred the more personal ones, and Strangeland has some of both. Overall, though, it has many breakup songs that seem to be about specific situations from Tim Rice-Oxley's life: the sad "Watch Yourself Go" (wishing a lover well while saying goodbye); "Silenced By the Night" (predicting a new stage in a benighted relationship - lots of light/dark imagery in the album); or "Disconnected" (describing estrangement). These are far more specific than the anthemic songs about alienation and fear in "Hopes and Fears." They're more grown up.
The piano sound has changed too. "Sovereign Light Cafe" and "Neon River" have tasteful synthesizer touches (but nothing like the overwhelming synth on Perfect Symmetry). Tim pounded the keys like Elton John in the early stuff; along with Richard's rock-style drumming, this gave the songs real kick. The playing is more complex here - and functions more as an accompaniment to the vocals, which absolutely take center stage. No one has every complained about Tom Chaplin's singing, to my knowledge.
And there are surprises: the Radiohead-like melody of "Black Rain"; the rock-style songs like "On the Road." They've come a long way from blatant pop like "Crystal Ball," and this album has as much variety as Under the Iron Sea.
Tim's lyrics have always been uneven in my opinion, and I think inspirational songs like "You are Young" or "Starting Line" have a blandly optimistic quality. Personal material like Sovereign Light Cafe hits straight home, and, luckily, Strangeland is much more personal than Perfect Symmetry.
It's a rich album, wistful, emotional, and thoughtful, but with an upbeat quality. It's very Keane; at the same time, it's a step forward, not a safe return to past glories. What more could we want?
25 of 29 found the following review helpful:
Something's missing...May 22, 2012
The "classic Keane sound" is back. While that is definitely good news, it comes with some baggage.
For background purposes, I will say that I loved the first two Keane albums and loathed the second two. This album, as others have already said, brings back the piano and gives us some catchy, snappy tunes similar to the first two albums.
That being said, there is something lacking on this album- I think it lacks a certain depth. A lot of the songs come across as generic and almost forced; there is a lot of good music here but not a lot of emotion.
The album opens with "You Are Young." It's a nice little song, but carries the depth of the average television commercial. "You've got time to realize / you're shielded by the hands of love / `cause you're young!" Blah.
"Disconnected" has my favorite "hook" of the album- it features a great chorus that's tough to get out of your head. However, it starts with two weak verses that almost sound like it was written too low for Tom Chaplin's vocal range. "Something's crept in under our door" - those are the opening lyrics that provide a bizarre visual to a song with more promise than what's delivered.
"Silenced By the Night" and "Sovereign Light Café" come the closest to the emotion of the older Keane albums. There are plenty other bright spots as well.
I struggled between giving this album 3 or 4 stars; 3.5 sounds about right. It's not fair to compare Strangeland to Hopes and Fears or Under the Iron Sea and to give it credit, Strangeland has its moments. But there is no "Atlantic" on this album, a song that is heartbreakingly raw and emotionally charged. There is a lot of pleasant-sounding music, but once you give it a few listens, the charm wears off. It's good background music and compared to the last two albums, I'll happily take it. But while I want to like this album more than I do, I know Keane is capable of more than this. In the meantime, I'll take what I can get.
25 of 32 found the following review helpful:
Return to greatness for Keane. A masterpiece!May 08, 2012
I couldn't be more stunned by the three reviews before mine. "Strangeland" is an exceptionally strong return to solid ground for Keane, whose first two albums set the bar. I do agree that the third album, "Perfect Symmetry," as well as the fourth, "Night Train," were disappointments with only a few standout tracks each. That's partly why I love "Strangeland" so much -- it's a return to the sublime Keane sound of old, yet burnished with maturity and confidence. Even if this were the first Keane album I'd ever heard, I'd be feeling just as good about it. High points, in my opinion, are "You Are Young," "In Your Own Time" and "Strangeland," but it's hard for me to single those out when nearly all 16 tracks are so good. There is NOTHING I want to skip here, and that's rare for me. "On the Road" and "Day Will Come" round out the top 5. As I listen to the album more, I suspect that "Black Rain," "The Starting Line" and others will grow on me. The astonishly good b-side, "Myth," is not included on the album, but I was able to get that elsewhere and thus complete the package. Weakest tracks -- and these are still fine, just not memorable -- are "Neon River," "Boys," and "Sea Fog" -- I don't know why some listeners like "Sea Fog" so much, it's got a pretty sound but it's so boring compared to the rest of the tracks. If there's one complaint I'd make, it's that the songs are short; almost all of them are under 4 minutes. That's a shame, because with tunes this good, you really want to get into them and make them last. Fortunately, Keane gives us 16 songs here, so the album's total length is a very fine one hour. Bottom line: I'm really impressed by "Strangeland" and it will be stuck in my player for quite a while going forward.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Don't you look back, I've no doubt that I will see you on the road.Jun 09, 2012
By Jason Stein
It is an absolute travesty that Americans have not fully embraced Keane like they embraced U2 and Coldplay and even The Killers. For it is from those seeds that Keane's music has taken shape. Of course there's also Travis as well. But the bottom line remains: Keane are far more popular in their native England than they are here. I mean, all of their albums have gone number one there. Can any American name any song from Keane? I still have people with furrowed brows say to me, "Keane? Who is that?"
I am biased, of course, every so often I find a band or artist that, to my ears, can do no wrong. Keane is one of those bands, and I'd even go so far as to give them an edge over Coldplay. With their fourth album, "Strangeland", the band continues to make great melodic piano driven music. They've always reminded me of my favorite era in music, the new wave/punk movement of the late 70's and early 80's. These guys really know how to make melodies that are memorable and that soar, always stadium friendly.
The deluxe version has four extra tracks. Without them there is a five star album here. With them, there's still a five star album here. Sure, there are songs that stand out from the pack, and all of these that I'm about to name should easily shoot into the American top 10. Songs like "You Are Young", "Silenced By The Night", "Sovereign Light Cafe", "On The Road", "The Starting Line", "Neon River" and even "Sea Fog". I think the only songs that might falter are "Watch How You Go", "Black Rain", "Day Will Come", "The Boys" and "It's Not True", but really, there are no weak tracks to be heard here. Everything is given a meticulous production and melodic sheen.
Now, some critics have complained that "Strangeland" finds the band spinning its wheels and not pushing forward musically like they did on their last album, 2008's "Perfect Symmetry". Well that may be true, but there is no shortage of exciting material to be had here. Perhaps the band did go back to 2004's "Hopes And Fears" for some inspiration, but that was also a great album. In fact, Keane have yet to make a misstep musically. All of their albums are great.
So, "Strangeland" gets five stars from me, something I don't often give out, because there are no songs that I can readily point to that tarnish the shine found throughout the album. It's cohesive musically and thematically.
Here's how "Strangeland" compares to Keane's previous works:
2004 Hopes And Fears: Four Stars
2006 Under The Iron Sea: Four and a Half Stars
2008 Perfect Symmetry: Five Stars
2010 Night Train (EP): Three Stars
2012 Strangeland: Five Stars
11 of 15 found the following review helpful:
Not too Keane on this...May 08, 2012
By Nse Ette
After delving into more upbeat Synth Pop on "Perfect Symetry", and fusing Hip Hop and J Pop on the "Night Train" EP, UK group Keane beat a hasty retreat into the safe piano Pop sounds of their first pair of albums which sold millions, especially after the scathing reviews the latter more recent pair received from fans.
Results are mixed, from the Coldplay/U2 feel of opening "You Are Young", the ballad "Watch How You Go", the upbeat "Sovereign Light Cafe", the bouncy "On The Road" to "In Your Time", much of the album is mildly pleasant, hardly as melodic as "Somewhere Only We Know", "Bedshaped" or "Try Again".
Where things wake up and standout are on the ballad "Disconnected" (with vocalist Tom Chaplin singing in a lower register during the verses), "The Starting Line", the brooding hymnal "Black Rain", the spare piano ballad "Sea Fog", and the lovely title track (on the deluxe edition). These leave one wishing the band took more risks. More like these and we would have a real winner!
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