Written on: 04/08/2004 by aing69 (3 reviews written)
Refreshing, uplifting music with not a guitar in sight
Only 12 tracks on the album (!)
Keane, Hopes & Fears - 2004 really is panning out to be a great year for music, and especially new music. Debut albums from Franz Ferdinand and Delays have already shone through, and now the keenly (!) anticipated debut album from Keane is upon us. The band have been greatly hyped by the media, so can they live up to the expectations? Well in one word - Yes. Hopes and Fears in an amazing album that really deserves to be in everyone's collection. Already spawning two top 10 singles ("Somewhere Only We Know" and "Everybody's Changing") the remaining 10 tracks really could be singles as well.
Track 2 - "Bend and Break" just has to be the next single. The swirling pianos intertwining with Tom Chaplin's vocals make this an absolute gem. This really is the territory Keane seem to excel at - big extravagant vocals singing hook-laden chorus that get stuck in your mind. There is the standard unrequited love and break up themes here; these themes seem to fit the music perfectly.
"This Is The Last Time" is the other contender for next single - already a single last year on Keane's original label - Fierce Panda - this starts off slowly before building into a huge crescendo of a chorus that must really stretch Chaplin's range.
Keane can also slow things down well - "She Has No Time" is so simple with a basic piano accompaniment but the aching yearning vocals sound all the better for this. "Bedshaped," the closing track, is another great example of brilliant simplicity.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this album is there are no guitars - just vocals, pianos and synths; very rare in the music world and perhaps one of the reasons this album stands-out from the crowd.
The most surprising track here though has to be "Can't Stop Now" which sounds like a Queen pastiche to me, even down the title. It still works, but is close to Pet Shop Boys doing a Freddie Mercury send-off!!
"Untitled 1" is another that doesn't quite fit the mould of the rest of the album and a more rocky affair than the other 11. This is neat penultimate track that juxtaposes with the closing "Bedshaped" seamlessly.
Comparisons have been made with both Coldplay and Travis and it is easy to see why in places; however, the overall sound is not like either of these great bands, but instead is unique enough. I somehow feel that Keane will soon be in the same league as the aforementioned bands and be multi-platinum sellers.
A must-have album for 2004 (but I think Delays is winning my album of the year at present, although it has had a month of extra play over Keane!!)