Keane – Night Train

6 Apr

Keane is easily one of my favorite bands. Sure they make some pretty basic pop music, but it is too good to ignore. I religiously listened to Hopes & Fears, and Under the Iron Sea when they were each released. Which led me to avidly follow their blog leading up to the release of Perfect Symmetry. But when the album came out I was disappointed. There were still some really great songs on it, mainly “Better Than This” and “Again & Again”, but then there were some really awful songs. The french spoken middle-eight in “Black Burning Heart”…? All of “Playing Along”. The Sesame Street style “Pretend That Your Alone”, that seemed more gimmicky than catchy. ALL of “Playing Along”.

And usually with Keane their softest songs would still be something special, because of how beautiful Tom’s voice was (Hamburg Song, She Has No Time), but even “You Don’t See Me”, the closest attempt at that, seemed more like a song out of the Lion King, than a memorable ballad.

I wanted to love the album, I really did, but aside from the few songs that were actually good, it was very hard to (and even “Better Than This”, sounded like a Bowie ripoff) It seemed as though the boys were just trying way too hard to lose their pop-choirboy image; which was foreshadowed through their posts leading up to the album. Change can be really great, and can save you from becoming the next Oasis, but only if you do it properly (e.g. Radiohead).

So I got only slightly excited when the Keaners announced their next EP titled Night Train; reading that it was born out of their Perfect Symmetry tour. The single “Stop For A Minute” is a collaboration with K’naan (who made some really great tracks on his album Troubadour), it’s alright.

The glimmer of hope comes in the form of another song from the EP called “Clear Skies”, which sounds like a reborn Keane. Some great Tragically Hip sounding drums from Richard, some great lyrics from Tim, and some brilliant singing from Tom. It seems to combine the grittiness that made UTIS so great, with the beauty of Hopes & Fears, and I like that.

So here is the single:

And here is the better of the two:

I guess only time will tell where the fellas decide to go next with their music.

-Dave

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