Album Review: Keane – Hopes and Fears (Deluxe Edition)

By on Thursday, 5th November 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

Keane HandF Deluxe coverI can scarcely believe it’s been 5 years since Keane‘s debut album, ‘Hopes and Fears’, hit store shelves in the UK. The music business – and surely the music landscape as well – has changed so much since then. Certainly Keane themselves have changed too. They charmed the world with expansive tunes like ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ and ‘Everybody’s Changing’ and then seemingly conquered the globe with their subsequent album, ‘Under the Iron Sea’. I was never a fan of them back then – I shunned the aforementioned ‘Somewhere…’ as a snore fest and did not pay them any attention as the girls around me here in America went gaga over the Keane sound.

Their 2008 release of ‘Perfect Symmetry’, with its firm nod towards the Eighties and synthesisers, piqued my interest. At the same time however, the new offering effectively polarised the Keane fanbase, some fans disappointed in composer Tim Rice-Oxley‘s new electronic direction. So perhaps it’s the right time for Keane to release a deluxe version of ‘Hopes and Fears’, the album that started the ball rolling for them, if only to remind people what they sounded like “before they was“.

My gut feeling: if you were already a diehard Keane fan before this album is released, you have probably already procured most of this “new” stuff by means not endorsed by TGTF, and/or you and many pounds have been separated from each other via eBay in your quest to be a Keane completist. But if these do not apply to you and you’re only a casual fan of the band, this 2 CD set is an intriguing if not essential collection of songs from the early days of a band that can now fill stadiums around the world. Included are the B-side ‘Snowed Under’ (featuring Tom Chaplin‘s soaring vocals) from the ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ single, as well as B-sides from Zoomorphic and Fierce Panda singles and ‘On a Day Like Today’, a track conspicuously missing from the non-UK versions of this album.

Most captivating are the live versions being offered in this collection. Taped versions of album tracks from the now-defunct Radio1 programme Lamacq Live, Jo Whiley’s Radio1 Live Lounge, and even a live EP the band released in March 2005 all provide a pleasant glimpse back in time in the trio’s history. Usually you can tell if a band can deliver the goods based on how good they sound on BBC live sessions, and Keane (well, Keane several years ago) do not disappoint one bit. Chaplin’s voice is heartbreakingly beautiful for the ballads like ‘Bedshaped’ and ‘We Might as Well Be Strangers’ that still make women around the world swoon and fall at their feet. He can deliver the goods for their more upbeat numbers like ‘Everybody’s Changing’ and ‘This is the Last Time’. And most importantly to the synth-hating Keane fans who have been with them from the beginning, Rice-Oxley’s piano-playing is clear, commanding, and brilliant.

Keane’s ‘Hopes and Fears (Deluxe Edition)’ will be released in the UK on 9 November. Pre-order it from Amazon here.

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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