The fourth studio album by Keane landed on my doorstep the other day so I thought I’d best give you my impressions of ‘Strangeland‘. They are often compared to their contempories Coldplay and indeed there are many links between both bands. Keane are now a fully fledged four piece act with the inclusion of bass player Jesse Quinn.The album commences with ‘You Are Young‘ a real breezy light-hearted affair, with the customary piano driving the song along. Tom Chaplin’s vocals do seem more mature and most definitely benefitted from some vocal training. This slips into the lead single of ‘Silenced By The Night‘ already a classic. “If I am the river, you are the ocean“, quite apt as the song’s beats slowly that wears you down like the sea pounding on the coastline. We then have ‘Disconnected‘ completing a trilogy of upbeat tracks. Tom’s dabble with Queen members is very audible with a Freddiesque ‘ooooooohhhh‘ that can be heard throughout.
The pace slows down for ‘Watch How You Go‘ that shows the clarity of the production. “The things we have shared, will soon be left behind now“, sparks a glorious choral middle to the song. This is possibly one of Tim Rice-Oxley‘s more refined compositions on this album. ‘Sovereign Life Cafe‘ soon brings back the zest to the album. It seems to be a song describing that they are at their most happiest when in their local surroundings even though there are many distractions out there to tempt them. The driving drums of Richard Hughes shape the track ‘On The Road‘ perfectly a sure-fire single at some point I would most definitely say. With the break in the middle you can imagine their fans clapping along when they will perform this live.
The chiming keyboard heralds the beginning of ‘The Starting Line‘, for some reason I get feeling I need an ice-cream. This is certainly a piece of majestic mellow music. Four musicans and a fourth album most definitely gives them a more solid foundation and far from the recited words “we’re too old to stand here waiting to break up”. Almost in the range of choirboy vocals dominate the next song ‘Black Rain‘. It uses an electronic back beat along that submerges with the woodwind and string sounding electronics. Strangely at it may seem it almost sounds as earthly as you can get. Next ‘Neon River‘ certainly lights our way into the way Keane feel now, certainly more relaxed and confident. The song builds up throughout when the chimes re-appear to end another slice of ‘cultured pop’.
As if they had recharged their batteries the band launches into the blistering ‘Day Will Come‘ and Tom announces “some day we will set the world on fire“, with this album if nothing else they have lit the touch-paper. ‘In Your Own Time‘ surely is the classic Keane sound of yesteryear. Great melodies and harmonic vocals shows they have not lost any of the shine. The album concludes with the ballad ‘Sea Fog‘ and again brings them back to the safety of their East Sussex coastal homeland upbringings. They are older wiser and better for it. 9/10.