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Perfect Symmetry (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

Keane bids adieu to uplifting ballads and ushers in a different style — '80s-influenced pop — with Perfect Symmetry. While the album isn't solely devoted to exploring that new genre, it's certainly the focus, and "Spiralling" appropriately kickstarts the set with whooping vocals and retro synthesizers. "When we fall in love," sings Tom Chaplin in his Wembley-geared voice, "we're just falling in love with ourselves." Coming from the same mouth that once crooned the over-earnest strains of "Somewhere Only We Know," those lyrics are wholly different — a sign that four years spent in the shadow of U2, Coldplay, and other like-minded bands have convinced Keane to make their own Achtung Baby. Of course, that album saw U2 turning sonic experimentation into something entirely inventive, which Perfect Symmetry doesn't quite accomplish with its own mixture. This isn't quite art, after all; it's mostly just fun, shot through with a self-consciously cheesy approach that's engineered to sound little like the department-store rock of 2004's Hopes and Fears. "Fun" seems to be at the top of the band's agenda, though, and Perfect Symmetry accordingly succeeds in doing away with most of the pre-conceived notions that accompany Keane records. The "old" sound doesn't even surface until midway through the album, when the album's title track offers up a combination of sparse piano notes (later giving way to dense, double-fisted arpeggios) and a meteoric melody in the chorus. But that's the exception, not the rule, and Perfect Symmetry sounds more comfortable during its truly unexpected moments: the spacy blips and bleeps of "You Haven't Told Me Anything," the synthesized anthem "Again and Again," and the energetic "Wooooooh!" that opens the entire album. The band's underlying strength remains Chaplin's ability to turn a melodic phrase with grace and dexterity, which fails to lose its vitality no matter the musical context, but Keane's willingness to take these left-hand turns deserves its own share of accolades. [A two-disc deluxe edition was also released, with demo recordings comprising the second CD.]

Customer Reviews

Perfect Symmetry is the Record of the Year!

If you like Keane's first two albums you will definately love this album! This record has its own unique sound compared to their other albums but I like how they're re-inventing themselves. The first time I heard "Spiralling" it reminded me of David Bowie and I was a bit shocked at first because it sounded nothing like any of their other songs but after a few more listens it definately grows on you. "Spiralling" is definately an 80's inspired song and you can hear the 80's influence throughout the album. Lyrically all the songs sound like classic Keane but with a different mix of instruments which definately work in a weird way. I think the best song on the album is "Perfect Symmetry" because its got that classic beautiful piano sound that I love about Keane and the lyrics are thoughtful. Love this album and definately the record of the year!


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
Perfect Symmetry (Deluxe Edition), Keane
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