Feature /// Keane: Celebration Of Piano Rock

Keane 2013

The time for releasing a ‘Best Of’ collection comes sooner or later in every band’s life. However, at the age of digital downloads, bands have to be creative when it comes to compilation albums as a simple singles collection is no longer appealing for music fans. On the contrary, an unusual approach to putting songs together, the addition of previously unreleased material, remixes, b-sides and new tracks alongside the album ones is a different thing.

Piano-rock outfit Keane came to the release of their ‘Best Of’ collection with four full-lenghts, several EPs and a great collection of b-sides under their belts. Their principle of forming the compilation was based on the band cherry-picking the tracks they like most of all and are especially proud of. Apart from that, there are two more new songs and the whole collection of b-sides ever recorded by Keane on the CD. This compilation is a great chance to go through the band’s extensive creative work and changes that’s been happening to the collective’s sound over the years in all the possible depth.

Keane’s way in music wasn’t all roses and glory, but a persistent, hard rise to the top. The band owe their piano-driven sound to a coincidence – a blessing in disguise if you wish. When their guitarist left the band in 2001, Keane decided to make the piano the central part of their music. Consequently, this particular sound made them special and different from all other bands on the scene, who stuck to using guitars. But long before this new sound brough Keane the recognition they deserved, they had to go through rejection, misery and reality checks. Still, something inside them was telling the musicians to grit their teeth and carry on with making music.

Keane’s debut album ‘Hopes And Fears’ dropped in 2004 and its success became a fantastic reward for all the band’s hard work. It became the second best-selling album of 2004 in the UK and turned Keane into superstars. Soaring, uplifting ‘Everybody’s Changing’ or ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ made a perfect companionship with heartbreaking balladry of ‘Bedshaped’, showing a special talent of the new band.

However, this sudden fame stunned the musicians and became a real test for them. Conflicts inside and outside the band, personal struggles and adjusting to a new life found their reflection in the dark ‘Under The Iron Sea’, released in 2006. The feelings of uncertainty, lack of confidence crept into the lyrics and, being as honest in their lyrics as Keane always are, the band readily bared their souls on this record. ‘Under The Iron Sea’ marked not only Keane’s new approach to music – a more sophisticated, intricate one, which finds its reflection in the grand ‘Atlantic’, dark ‘A Bad Dream’ or lively ‘Crystal Ball’, but also in the absolutely new artwork, which backed up the change.

It took Keane two years to write a follow-up to ‘Under The Iron Sea’ – a lighter, untroubled ‘Perfect Symmetry’ (2008), with easy-going, fresh, elevating tracks ‘Spiralling’ and ‘Perfect Symmetry’ leading the way. It was the first record featuring the guitars on it and a new, happier Keane after having come to grips with their personal demons. Bearing a noticeable stamp of 1980s synth pop, this album also introduces saxophone and string arrangements for a more exquisite sound.

Keane’s latest studio album ‘Strangeland’ (2012) became a return to their earlier sound plus guitars and minus darkness, and a whole new concept of more focus on songwriting and simpler, more direct melodies. The likes of ‘Sovereign Light Cafe’ and ‘Silenced By The Night’ are full of sunshine and carefree spirits. This mood is also preserved on the two brand-new tracks ‘Higher Than The Sun’ and ‘Won’t Be Broken’ – uplifting, confident songs which celebrate the love of life and music. The whole collection of b-sides and a surprise appearance of the track ‘My Shadow’ from 2010’s EP ‘Night Train’ in addition to the album tracks comprise, all together, a great music treat from Keane.

Keane’s ‘Best Of’ compilation takes listeners on a journey through the band’s impressive career with ups and downs, follows their sound evolution and takes a wider, more in-depth look on their sound – something a collection of singles alone just  wouldn’t be able to do. On their ‘Best Of’ collection Keane go into the heart and soul of the band’s music and show the best they’ve got.

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2 Responses to “Feature /// Keane: Celebration Of Piano Rock”
  1. Jamie says:

    An awesome album. Got to be in my Christmas stocking or there’s going to be trouble in this house!

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