Listeners should be fearful of Keane’s latest release ‘Hopes and Fears’

Mike McKenna

Though the band formed over seven years ago, British pop-rockers, Keane, offered up their debut album, “Hopes and Fears,” just last year. East Sussex, England, natives, Keane, started off as a cover band playing small shows around town with former guitarist Dominic Scott.

In 2004, Tom Chaplin (vocals), Richard Hughes (drums), and Tim Rice-Oxley (piano, keyboards and bass) set out to share their original music with the world. Unfortunately, “Hopes and Fears” does not seem to show the band has shed that “cover-band” mentality.

With Rice-Oxley providing enough pop hooks to constitute a fishing challenge and Hughes executing drum fills like a Casio synth-keyboard, the album comes away with a few tunes that will most certainly have you tapping your feet while humming in the shower.

However, Keane fails to pack enough punch to break away from the saturated genre of “piano pop-rock,” a science dominated by the likes of fellow Brit chart-toppers, Coldplay and Travis. With a sound not so original when held up to the light of their peers, “Hopes and Fears” has nothing unique to offer listeners.

The album’s current single, “Somewhere Only We Know,” is a tune you might typically hear playing in the background of your first date. It tries to tug at your heartstrings, but manages to stop at first base. Likewise, “This Is the Last Time” and “Everybody’s Changing” leave a sick feeling in the listener’s ear, not only because they would not be sure if they just listened to the same track twice, but also because they might have actually liked it.

“We Might As Well Be Strangers” is this album’s pathetic “breakup song.” Do not be surprised if “Bend and Break” proves to the pop radio anthem of Keane’s debut album. “Sunshine” would give it [“Bend and Break”] a run for its money had it not sounded so much like a cheap Jon Secada track from 1993. No worries though. You will not have to listen to much more than the first track to hear every other song on the album rolled into one.

One saving grace is Chaplin’s vocals, which are filled with enough passion to the point where you almost forget you have been listening to an egotistical album almost certainly made with the intent of getting onto every top 40’s list and motion picture soundtrack this year.

Unfortunately for Keane, their hopes of becoming breakthrough artists may be dashed to pieces by their inability to wow audiences with anything but recycled pop beats and clich