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Hopes and Fears

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Album Review

The English music press can never let anyone be. They're always quick to hail the next big thing, and in this case, the next big Coldplay is Keane. (Lowgold briefly held that title upon its debut release in 2001, but U.K. critics rushed to give that crown to someone else.) Keane haven't positioned themselves to be kings of anything, though, let alone the next Coldplay. Sure, Coldplay's biggest hit to date, "Clocks," included only pianos, and they released the Safety EP on Fierce Panda, which is also Keane's label, but those are the only things Keane have in common with Coldplay. Alongside their beautiful, emotive dalliance of instrumentation is one thing that'll separate Keane from all the rest, and that's drive. The band's open-hearted ambition on Hopes and Fears is audible on every song. Lead vocalist Tom Chaplin's rich vocals are as vibrant as any choir, and track such as "This Is the Last Time," "Bend and Break," and "Can't Stop Now" reflect Keane's more savory, dramatic moments. Confidence bursts throughout, and for a band that has been around seven years and has never released a studio full-length album until now, achieving nearly epic-like status is quite impressive. Keane obviously have the songs and they have a strong voice leading the front; however, Tim Rice-Oxley (piano/keyboards/bass) and Richard Hughes (drums) allow Hopes and Fears to come alive with glamour and without the sheen of slick studio production. Even slow build-up tracks like "Bedshaped" and "We Might as Well Be Strangers" are just as passionate, if not more so, than some of the bigger numbers on the album. Some might find Keane's debut a bit stagy, or too theatrical at first, but that's okay. Listening to "Somewhere Only We Know" alone a few times is more than enough to convince you that Keane stand next to Coldplay — challenging them rather than emulating — and it's a respectable match at that.

Customer Reviews

The Best Brit-Pop Band Around

Keane. I wonder what it means. I"m only ten, so maybe it's a word I've never heard of. It reminds me of a maple leaf. Okay, enough about that stuff, let's get to the review! My title pretty much tells all I have to say. The only other thing I can think of doing is giving you the key tracks. Okay, I find the little stickers on albums that say the key tracks very useful. Right now I'll be that sticker and give them to you. Key tracks in order of greatness: 1. Everbodys Changing 2. Somewhere Only We Know 3. We Might As Well Be Strangers Alright, that's my opinion, so you son't have to follow what I said. Okay, bye.

Keane can stand by themselves

Here is what Keane and Coldplay have in common: 1. They're both English. 2. They use pianos. 3. They write their own songs. 4. I love them both. Yes, it is a huge compliment to be compared to Coldplay, and chances are if you like one, you will definitely like the other. But Keane should be appreciated on its own merits. The album is strong, the lyrics profound, and the melodies inspired. Keane hooked me with Everybody's Changing and reeled me in with Bedshaped, but my true favourite is Your Eyes Open. As a lyrically driven, discerning Brit-pop connoisseur (and diehard Coldplay fan), I fully recommend this album, on the grounds that one can play it over and over for hours and never get tired of it.

My first review

If you're anything like me, you don't take a five star rating too seriously...people will give five stars to just about anything...look at some obscure Jimmy Cliff bootleg on iTunes and you might see a five star rating. So to express how sincere this five star is, I can say I have never written a review for iTunes and I would certainly not classify myself as someone to give a five star rating lightly. Ok. Now that I've said that, I have to tell you that this album is a five star (as in best I've ever heard) and it gives me the chills every time I put it on. There's at least five songs that I can't believe were actually written by human beings and not angels...they write from the heart of a particular feeling and state of mind that transcends language and culture. It's genuine emotion and talent. It's great songwriting. Not just great songwriting...amongst the best songwriting I've ever heard. The lyrics are so honest and they are like a good friend when you're lovesick...or heartbroken...or lonely. This album is flawless, in my humble opinion. I'm very appreciative to own it and I'm happily eager to recommend it to the world.


Formed: 1997 in East Battle, Sussex, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Keane's piano-driven pop/rock is created by vocalist Tom Chaplin, drummer Richard Hughes, and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley, three childhood friends from the small town of Battle in East Sussex, England. Formed in 1997, the group started out as a college-aged cover band. Guitarist Dominic Scott was also part of this early incarnation, having previously played cover songs with Hughes and Rice-Oxley in a band named the Lotus Eaters. Keane toured the East Sussex circuit for several years while internalizing...
Full Bio
Hopes and Fears, Keane
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Customer Ratings