Release Date: Oct 14, 2016
Record label: Island
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Like ocean waters -- where it's darkest beneath the shimmering surface -- Tom Chaplin's first solo LP The Wave is a beautiful debut churning with pain and desperation. After his band Keane went on hiatus in 2013, his struggles with addiction reached a scary low at the start of 2015, when he almost died after an extended drug binge. In the context of his subsequent recovery and rebirth, The Wave is a triumph.
After 20 years together, and 12 years after their debut album Hopes And Fears, it seems that Keane have embarked on that most modern of phases: the ‘indefinite hiatus’. Although some deemed them a byword for ‘bedwetter music’, it was undeniable that Tim Rice-Oxley knew how to pen a soaring tune. Somewhere Only We Know, Is It Any Wonder and especially Spiralling were genuine pop classics, which only made it sadder to see them limp to an apparent stop with the very lukewarm Strangeland album.
The first solo album by Keane singer Tom Chaplin has a clean-cut MOR sheen. It is aglow with mid-paced piano-led ballads with crowd-pleasing choruses. There’s also a strong streak of melancholy. Opening track Still Waiting paints a scene of death and destruction: “Buried in the rubble, there’s a boy in trouble.” The song could be about Aleppo, but Chaplin doesn’t say.