Release Date: Oct 14, 2008
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Rock, Pop, Alternative
No disrespect to big daddies Jerry Lee Lewis, Billy Joel, and Elton John, but piano rock often fails miserably at, well, rocking. And Keane, the British three-piece behind several successive hit singles Stateside — including ”Somewhere Only We Know” and ”Is It Any Wonder?” — have tended in the past to make even their touchy-feely counterparts in Coldplay sound positively badass by comparison. But on their third release Perfect Symmetry, the band — still without either guitar or bass — have suddenly, gratifyingly, found their mojo.
Over the course of their career, much mockery has been aimed at Keane. The Sussex trio have variously stood accused of being too middle-of-the-road, too calculating - this is, after all, the band who employed a branding consultant months before they signed a record deal - and too polite and privileged to rock. Not even frontman Tom Chaplin's spell in the Priory passed without a scurrilous rumour, started by Kasabian, that Chaplin was being treated not for a cocaine problem but an addiction to port.
"Fun" seems to be at the top of the band's agenda, though, and Perfect Symmetry succeeds in doing away with most of the pre-conceived notions that accompany Keane records. The "old" sound doesn't even surface until midway through the album, when the album's title track offers up a combination of sparse piano notes (later giving way to dense, double-fisted arpeggios) and a meteoric chorus. But that's the exception, not the rule, and Perfect Symmetry sounds more comfortable during its truly unexpected moments: the spacy blips and bleeps of "You Haven't Told Me Anything," the synthesized anthem "Again and Again," and the energetic "Wooooooh!" that opens the entire album.