Keane – Perfect Symmetry

October 16, 2008

I tend to get this band confused with the Fray, a band I don’t really care for in all honesty, especially after I saw a VH1 interview with them where the singer described the band with a hand gesture I thought could be just as easily interpreted as a gesture for self-abuse. UK based “piano rock” band Keane is definitely not the Fray, and their new album, Perfect Symmetry, is a pleasant surprise. Instead of remaining content to remain in Coldplay-land, they’ve switched gears with this release and adopted a sound strongly reminiscent of 80’s New Wave synthpop a la bands like Spandau Ballet and Ultravox, which I guess puts them in the same land that Cut Copy inhabits, minus some of that band’s edge. Their sound on Perfect Symmetry has earned them some comparisons to the Killers, but then drawing from the same well a band draws from isn’t necessarily the same as copying them. Keane hasn’t reinvented themselves so much as they’ve taken a sound and adapted it to their purposes, and the result is a mostly pleasing collection of soaring, pop anthems and ballads, exemplified by the opening tracks, “Spiralling” and “The Lovers Are Losing,” which also happen to be the first two singles. The third track, “Better Than This,” has a nice musical nod to David Bowie’s “Ashes To Ashes” going for it. They’ve also added guitars to the mix, though they’re used sparingly and sometimes very subtlely. There are some duds here, “Pretend That You’re Alone” among them, and the best material is mostly weighted to the first half of the album, but all in all, Perfect Symmetry is a very effective pop album. A good litmus test for potential listeners: Listen to that first single, and if you like it, odds are you’ll like the rest of this album. Standout cuts: “Spiralling,” “The Lovers Are Losing,” “Perfect Symmetry” and “Playing Along.”


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