Keane – Perfect Symmetry (Universal)
Say what you will, but ‘Spiralling’ – the first single taken from Keane’s third album – sounds like it should be a classic 80s anthem. I believe this fervently. I don’t care that Keane’s lead singer is an annoying, sweaty little man, too chubby to ever be cool (no matter how many rehab clinics he checks into); or that their previous albums have been about as fresh and exciting as your gran after she’s been at the gin – ‘Spiralling’ is a big, big, tune.
So, I am not ashamed to admit that I was rather excited when Perfect Symmetry arrived in The Badger office. What other delights would Keane have in store for me?
Well unfortunately, not many. The 80s vibe carries on right through the album with synthesisers aplenty and drums dripping with reverb, while Tom Chaplin (the sweaty, chubby one alluded to above) does his best Bono impression on ballads like ‘Symmetry’.
But all this 80s nostalgia (as if there wasn’t enough of it around at the moment) soon becomes sickening. There are too many synthesisers and too much reverb on the drums. Not even halfway through my first listen and I was suffering a serious case of 80s overdose.
There are a few well-written pop-songs and catchy melodies to be found amongst the synth-mire, notably ‘The Lovers are Losing’, ‘Again and Again’ and, of course, ‘Spiralling’. But, even if you can bear the 80s onslaught, the whole album smacks of a Coldplay-esque please-take-us-seriously sentiment that will be sure to annoy you.