Over the last number of weeks there has been something of a hype building around Keane’s recently released album Perfect Symmetry; touted as a possible renaissance for the band. We see some new instruments featured on it, along with some clear changes in their sound.
It starts off well, with first track ‘Spiralling’ a decent, unusually fast paced foot-tapper of a song, allowing the band to show off their musical strengths. As they sing about life spinning off into chaos, the band’s harmonic whooping presents us with a sort of carnival-esque sounding opening.
However this high point is but a sad precursor for what is to follow. The following tracks make it clear that Keane’s said ‘renaissance’ is little more than their old sound, but bigger.
In the two years since the release of their last album, ‘Under the Iron Sea’, the band seems to have done little more than research the appeal, sound and scale of some of the 70’s most renowned stadium-rock bands. Also, plugging a synthesiser into more or less every song hardly counts as creative endeavour.
Admittedly, lead singer Tom Chaplin is possessed with a rich, room-filling voice. But with definite aspirations towards the lucrative stadium-rock, he simply exhausts the listener with a torrent of forced passion and stressed meaning.
By the albums end, all revolutionary aspirations have been abandoned; with the lazy reversion to their stock piano/vocal epics.
In a Nutshell: bigger certainly isn’t always better.