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Night Train

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Editors’ Notes

Keane have been messing around with their sound ever since they received their first comparisons to Radiohead and Coldplay. Now, they’re in that elusive space where no one’s really sure where to categorize them. There’s still plenty of mood emanating from tracks such as “House Lights” and “Your Love.“  And there’s still plenty of jovial pop cranking forth from “Clear Skies” and the U2-like “Back In Time.” But, most interestingly, there are dance beats calling you to the dance floor with “Stop for a Minute,” featuring Somali rapper K’naan and here with an additional remix and video, “Ishin Denshin (You’ve Got To Help Yourself)” with Tigarah and “Looking Back” also featuring K’naan. There’s still the heartfelt piano ballad of “My Shadow” for those looking for the emotional ties of old. But Keane are likely to keep checking out new ground wherever they can find it. This British trio have never let their size limit them and they aren’t about to be bound by anyone’s expectations. They have a world of music to explore.

Customer Reviews

I don't hate it, but I certainly don't like it.

I used to be the biggest Keane fan imaginable during the Hopes & Fears / Under the Iron Sea periods. Seriously: those two albums will forever be embedded into my soul. When they "switched things up" and released Perfect Symmetry, I was incredibly disappointed. I understand that bands change their sound and their style from time to time, but everything I loved about Keane was shattered from that very moment. I have stopped following the band since then, so I had no idea this EP was coming out. Of course, since I'm still emotionally attached to the band because of my teenage love affair with them, I gave Night Train a listen. It's pretty much an extension of Perfect Symmetry, except odder and not very cohesive. If you became a fan of Keane from the very start, like myself, you might agree with me. They'll never be the same as they once were - which is fine - but it's rather disappointing that the direction they went is, in my opinion, mediocre and generic. I know that Tim is a wonderful songwriter, but I believe he can do much better.

I'll still listen to whatever you do, Keane, but I'm afraid I won't be the fan I used to be.

Shine a light on Keane

This EP is said to have been recorded while they were on tour last year, grabbing studio time when they could, collaborating with some other artists that probably surprise Keane fans. Who knew what Keane would do next, but "Night Train" is a definite delight. 'My Shadow' fittingly comes at the end of the EP, recalling their (forever endearing) "Hopes And Fears" phase, and it's really brilliant: piano heavy, musically rich, soaring vocals and pensive lyrics. The similarities with the past end there. The majority of it have Keane continuing to explore new terrain, the way they did with "Perfect Symmetry." As if to set the tone, the brief, sombre instrumental opener, 'House Lights', does just that (although it seems it might have been birthed out of 'Is It Any Wonder?' from "Under the Iron Sea.") There's hip sounding pop and synth flair in the very appealing 'Back In Time'; same for 'Clear Skies' (lots of layers to listen to there), not to mention the wicked drumbeats in both. 'Your Love' (which is not sentimental) has some more cool beats and synth and calls up the '80s sound, but in a progressive, refreshing way. It's a bit of a hip swayer and will get countless listens. 'Stop for a Minute' has an awesome upbeat groove, even if the lyrics are off in the opposite direction; K'naan coming in with his rap really does work: it's well done and a definite highlight. 'Ishin Denshin (You've Got To Help Yourself)' is pretty fantastic...it's a sort of disco sounding number...hard to call it an anthem but it's a feel good, sing-along type. 'Looking Back' is cool and uptempo. It samples 'Gonna Fly Now' (theme from "Rocky")...as unlikely a combination as that, K'naan and Keane together may seem, it works really well.

So, nice one Keane. Keep it coming.

That voice...is there any better?

This little EP is proving to be a very interesting listen. It's not quite so "80's cheezy pop" as "Perfect Symmetry" and does showcase a much more layered sound than the previous album. There are still a few surprising electronic moments here, including a very A-Ha/Erasure-esque turn with "Your Love." Close your eyes during the opening few lines and I challenge you not to picture Morten Harket singing. "Stop for a Minute" is a very catchy anthem, borrowing a bit from K'naan's own smash, "Wavin' Flag." A surprising collaboration, but it works...and yay for Canada making an impact on the track :). "Looking Back" is just as good - sweeping vocals, great rhythm and interesting play between K'naan's rapping and Tim's singing. Could it be we rubbed off on the Keane lads during their extended tour last year?

"Ishin Denshin" sounds very much like it could have been lifted from a Goldrapp disc...not a bad thing as Keane once again wears their love of the 80's on their sleeves. "My Shadow" brings back the familiar Keane power-ballad...not quite as strong as "Bedshaped" or "Nothing in My Way," but still a strong closer.

I think fans need to accept that Keane is more interested in reinvention than returning to "Hopes and Fears." While I do miss the emotional, piano-driven classics from years back, I love the new sound and experimentation. Can't wait for the next full-length album...praying it's not too long in the future.

Biography

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
Night Train, Keane
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  • $7.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Rock, Adult Alternative
  • Released: May 10, 2010

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