Keane are the latest next-big-thing in music and they’ve already had tons of vitriol heaped on their heads: they’re too posh, too well-connected, too goddamned *nice* to be credible musicians. And yet, and yet… their album’s absolutely wonderful.
Here’s a few reasons why I love them:
* The piano part on “everybody’s changing” reminds me of The Associates. Anything that makes me think of The Associates is by definition, fantastic.
* Singer Tom Chaplin looks utterly terrified in videos, the antithesis of a pop star. Which makes me – a 30-something straight bloke – want to mother him. God knows what effect he has on women.
* The lyrics are utter bollocks, but sung with such conviction they’re utterly compelling.
* There’s a real ambition to the music, a feeling that the band wants to be more than a poor facsimile of the latest fad.
* Chaplin manages to combine the choirboy vocals of Thom Yorke with Bono’s roar – and he’s barely started, musically.
* They remind me of A-Ha. This is a good thing.
* They’re hated by the people who praise carbon copies of 30-year old “credible” bands to the skies. That alone should make them worth listening to.
* The album is a masterpiece of rock music production. It’s so shiny that you could eat your dinner from it.
* In these days of “two good songs, ten throwaway ones” on most bands’ albums, “Hopes & Fears” doesn’t have a single duff track.
Of course, it could all go horribly wrong: the band could fall into the trap of worrying about sales positions and end up writing pale imitations of their current stuff (see Bryan Adams, whose current single has the music from “Run To You” with a different vocal on top), or worry about credibility and write an album whose core audience will be approximately six London-based music journalists. Then again, they might use their current fame as an opportunity to do whatever the hell they like, giving pianist (and songwriter) Tim Rice-Oxley free reign to be as uncommercial as he likes. I sincerely hope they go for the third route.