After a four year wait Keane are finally back with their new album, Strangeland. Bursting back onto the scene, they are marking the release with a UK wide tour, and the first night was a sellout gig at Newcastle’s O2 Academy.
They are a band which are paradoxically as simplistic as they are complex. The power of Tom Chaplin, the front man’s, voice actually surprising me at first. It was record perfect song by song as the entire show went on. From the hauntingly beautiful emotion filled, Bedshaped to the soul rousing anthem, This is The Last Time, you could see him pouring his entire self into every track. As a band, they are just four young guys who love making music and happen to have the talent to pull it off. They have a list of hits a band twice as old would be proud of.
The set list was a collection of their greatest songs to date such as Somewhere Only We Know and Is It Any Wonder? sitting alongside a selection of songs from the new album, and the transition between the two was seamless. The new songs stick to the same formula which Keane are famous for. The piano and sythesiser set the basis for the tracks, whilst the other elements are built up layer by layer, forming a complex wall of sound. The tracks on display from Strangeland showed a more melancholy sound, but the usual upbeat riffs and sing-along choruses meant they were appreciated by the eager crowd, which isn’t often the case. The Starting Line was my pick of the bunch, a slow meaningful buildup of exquisite lyrics and rhythmic synthesized pianos to a rousing chorus which soars just as well as their best hits.
Keane have taken their time creating Strangelands, and it really shows. Tom himself introduced every track as being his favourite from the new album, I can’t blame him, it’s certainly a great collection.