Keane – Under The Iron Sea

KeaneI was gonna write about the new album from Secret Machines, but that’s gonna have to wait until tomorrow kiddies. The reason for this was, I was looking at the BBC News website just before I went to bed last night, and they were reporting that that Keane frontman, Tom Chaplin is being treated for drink and drug problems. Fuckin’ hell eh, it’s always the quiet ones isn’t it? Well apart from Ozzy Osbourne but you get what I’m on about right? Only last week Justin “The knob from the Darkness” Hawkins was checked into the Priory for exhaustion, but the lad from Keane: drink and drugs. Bet Hawkins is loving that. Keane have the image (probably rightly) of being three quite pleasant, slightly posh guys who make pleasant inoffensive music. For that reason, they’re derided by the likes on NME but lauded (by the now completely MOR) Q magazine. Authors Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho) and Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) have said they’re fans, but get a music fan to admit this would be like admitting appreciating anything by Pete Waterman.

So with a new Keane album out, just a few weeks earlier, I sat down and listened to it again. The first time, it drifted by me on a random playlist with about seven other albums I bought that day. But actually listening to it again, makes me realise that this is a good album. “Atlantic” has a strong drum beat with some gorgeous overlaid strings, the single “Is It Any Wonder?” is a pacey, electroised track that shows the band has some bite. “A Bad Dream” again, goes for a sythny, electronic sound that fits well with the epic scope of the song. “Hamburg Song” quiet, gentle and it’s a great advert for Chaplin’s voice, which is sincere and humble. Frankly, it’s makes a change from the egotistical bluster from groups like Kasabian and Oasis.

And therein lies the crux of the matter: some music magazine make grand claims on our behalf. Like how we “want our rockstars dangerous” (a la Docherty) or full or arrogance (a la Gallagher). Bollocks. I know what I want from my music: honesty, sincerity and freedom from ego. Yes, Keane maybe posh guys making unchallenging music, but at least they aren’t trying to be something they’re not. Maybe if we could all scrape underneath the surface, I wonder how many of “our” rockstars hold up?

Keane – Crystal Ball:


  1. stoogy

    I’m glad someone out there is willing to stick up for Keane! Oh no, they’re a bit posh, they can’t possibly be any good! That was sarcasm in case you hadn’t noticed lol Why is it okay to slag someone for being posh when it’s not okay to slag someone for being common (you know what I mean 🙂 ). They’re both the same, just the opposite way round. I’m tired of hearing “cool” bands have a go at Keane for being public schoolboys (I don’t even know if any of them really went to public school hehe). I have Hopes & Fears & will no doubt get Under the Iron Sea some time soon. The former is a very good, if inoffensive, album and the latter sounds promising based on the few songs I’ve heard from it. There’s nothing wrong with not offending people. Sure, offending people can be a lot of fun and will get you noticed, but good music is good music! Tom Chaplin has a great voice, they’re great live (unfortunately I’ve never actually seen them live, but I’ve seen them live on TV lol) and it’s true that they do seem to be nice guys who aren’t cocky, brash etc. Is that such a bad thing? I do like Oasis (now there’s a shock lol) & Kasabian, but that doesn’t mean I can’t like Keane as well. Talking of Kasabian, I was watching the V Festival highlights the other night and a couple of the Kasabian guys were slagging Keane for being (paraphrasing) “St Trinians hockey girls”. I can’t remember exactly what they said but you get the idea. Oh well!
    Does MOR mean middle of the road?

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