HOPES AND FEARS by keane

by Gordon

keane.hopesandfears

Pitchfork: 2.8          Rolling Stone: 3.5/5          Metacritic: 61          Spin: N/A

 

Released: May 2004
Tracklisting:
  1. Somewhere Only We Know
  2. This is the Last Time
  3. Bend and Break
  4. We Might As Well Be Strangers
  5. Everybody’s Changing
  6. Your Eyes Open
  7. She Has No Time [LISTEN]

  8. Can’t Stop Now
  9. Sunshine
  10. Untitled 1
  11. Bedshaped

   I understand that I may be one of the few in my friend group who thinks Keane is a great band, but come on, if nothing else, we can all agree that Hopes and Fears is a GREAT album. After hearing “Somewhere Only We Know” on TV when the album was just released, I was personally joyous that there was a new piano-rocking band I could potentially get into (and by the sound of the song, the potential was high). I was attracted by the song’s catchy chord-banging, great melody, and the singer’s above average voice (the fact that they hailed from England didn’t hurt either).

   Upon buying the album, I was ecstatic to find that it had a lot more great songs to boast…at first a few, by a week’s time almost all. “Everybody’s Changing” was the other instant single, what with its über-catchy piano riff, synth backgrounds and upbeat percussion. Its crowd-relatable lyrics probably helped too (“Everybody’s changing and I don’t feel the same”). The formula played (and worked) throughout the bulk of the album. “This is the Last Time” and “Bend and Break” displayed more great piano engineering from Tim Rice-Oxley and a Freddie Mercury-type knack for hitting those high notes while still sounding manly on singer Tom Chaplin’s part.

   For me, “We Might As Well Be Strangers” also stood out. One of the rarer songs to be composed on primarily more minor chords and a slower pace, the melody is still a catchy one. After the second chorus rolls around, it climaxes into piano-pounding, voice-belting and drum-smashing until ending on a quiet final note. “Bedshaped”, the last track, is another gem. Beginning with eery, spacey synth background (which re-emerges later), it becomes a more electric keyboard-sounding anthem, switching back and forth between a quiet, reserved verse and a thunderous and powerful chorus. Rice-Oxley’s playing leads into an instrumental and funky bridge, the boom of which continues into a final word from Chaplin, and an end to the album.

   The tracks in-between all grow on you, too. They tend to be a bit more free in their experimentation with different sounds and background effects. I haven’t been disappointed by the band’s follow-up albums, but their debut release is through and through their biggest accomplishment, a CD that ran rampant on repeat in my car on long trips a few years ago. To naysayers of the band, or those who grew bored of the singles, give this album a thorough listen and see if you don’t change your mind.

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