KEANE “PERFECT SYMMETRY”

4 December 2008

Another “pop” album (what’s becoming of me?)! LOL.  Seriously, though, Keane have managed to produce a fine pop album with “Perfect Symmetry”. It is a Keane-fan-pleaser, but there are TWO track at least worthy of note — “Better Than This” and “You Haven’t Told Me Anything”, which are different, quirky and inventive!

The first track is “Spiralling”, which is a Bb minor , and gives a great fright if you don’t check your headphone volume level beforehand!  It’s a pretty standard Keane style track.  One for their fans to open the album, and this vein is continued with “Lovers Are Losing” which jumps to Db major.

Then came the surprise: “Better Than This” in Bb major is a David Bowie style track (ala Major Tom).  It features some strange hand clap timings, beats and a banjo for heaven’s sake!  Yes, it’s addictive Pop, a wee gem.

This sets you up for another gem — the “You Haven’t Told Me Anything” in their native Eb major key to bring out the best of Tim Rice-Oxley’s vocals.

At this point you notice that there their “no-guitar”, distorted piano signature is gone — much in the same way that Queen and Elton John used to declare that they didn’t use synthesisers until they suddenly did!

As if realising what they had done, the  title track reverts to Keane Piano and the synthesised wall of strings.  They add an Rice-Oxley “choir”, so the key remains in Eb.

“You Don’t See Me” is an Eb major B-side Keane. Filler, nice, but wadding just the same.

The seventh track needs to pull this album’s socks up, so “Again & Again” comes out on a surprising D minor key, with an upbeat, clean tempo.  More synth than piano in into, it drops for dynamics, and soon the bridge is heading for “Keane Anthem” again!

“Playing Along” is a slow swing tune in Bb major.  It tries to be radical in short spurts, and has guitar all over it, in a very un-Keane manner — from jangly, and thrashy to jazzy slide lead runs!

The ninth and tenth tracks are in D major to give Rice-Oxley’s throat a rest.  “Pretend That You’re Alone” is streets ahead of “Black Burning Heart” simply for having a syncopated piano riff intro! but  “Black Burning Heart” has more substance, and could be acquired given time, although he does “speak French” in the vein of Eddie Izzard for no apparent reason. “Love Is the End” in the peculiar key of A major and a slow, jazzy tempo that could well have been a Norah Jones discard!  At times, Tim even manages to sound like Thom York in Radiohead!

In summary, this is a nice wee album with a couple of gems, but if you hate Keane, steer well clear!

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