September 18, 2019 Keane – Cause and Effect (Album Review)
After embarking on a solo career and releasing his solo album in 2013, consequently causing his band to go on a hiatus, Frontman Tom Chaplin (lead vocals, electric/acoustic guitar) get together again last year with his comrades—Tim Rice-Oxley (piano, synthesizer, bass, backing vocals), Richard Hughes (drums, percussion, backing vocals), and Jesse Quin (bass, acoustic/electric guitar, backing vocals)—to reactivate Keane, and the result of which is the forthcoming new album of the English band, titled Cause and Effect.
Formed in 1995, in Battle, East Sussex, England, Keane has released four studio albums under its name—from 2004’s Hopes and Fears to 2012’s Strangeland. It became one of the purveyors of Blue Wave/Sophistipop music in the 2000s, alongside other groups like Coldplay (“We Never Change”), Elbow (“Powder Blue”), Budapest (“Is This the Best It Gets?”), and Travis (“Why Does It Always Rain on Me?”).
After the six-year hiatus, Keane returns with Cause and Effect, which is slated for release on September 20th, 2019, on Island Records. The band’s fifth opens with the pristine, crystalline cascade of the poignant piano ballad “You’re Not Home,” which then bursts midstream into a sunny, upbeat hopeful song. The positive sonic mood carries on with the beautifully orchestrated “Love Too Much,” which tries to make everything alright amidst the heartaches. Exploding next in spiraling melodies, driving beats, and impassioned vocal delivery is “The Way I Feel,” which exudes faint echoes of The Killers’ “When You Were Young.” Then there is the ambient-sounding mid-tempo “Put the Radio On”—haunting, subtly Gothic with a glaze of Post-Punk rhythm-guitar strums.
With “Strange Room,” Chaplin and the rest of Keane then take the listener to a trek back to the romantic and melodramatic aspect of their music; it will fit well onto a playlist that includes a-ha’s “And You tell Me,” Nik Kershaw’s “So Quiet,” and The Alarm’s “Walk Forever by My Side.” This is then followed by the filmic allure of “Phases,” conjuring a dreamy scene in a sad Romance movie.
The angular and dancey swagger of the ensuing “I’m Not Leaving” then soars soulfully with Chaplin’s familiar croon and Keane’s velvety instrumentation. “Thread” is another inspired piano-led, string-laden ballad, which can make a thousand lovers swoon in sweet surrender. The penultimate track, “Chase the Night Away,” is another Morten Harket deadringer, revealing Keane’s deep New Wave influences in a classy manner. Finally, Keane effectively concludes Cause and Effect with a heartrending cry for love and affection, in the form of the Gospel-inspired “I Need Your Love.”
Keane’s latest offering is worth the six years’ wait. It serves as a reminder of the band’s well-deserved place in the pantheon of Sophistipop music, which is populated by luminaries such as Spandau Ballet (“Round and Round”), Johnny Hates Jazz (“Let Me Change Your Mind Tonight”), Fra Lippo Lippi (“Don’t Take Away That Light”), and Mr. Mister (“Broken Wings”), all of which are best known for their sophisticated music that comforts the heart and uplifts the spirit. Cause and Effect is a sure future classic. That is why Cryptic Rock gives it 4 out of 5 stars.
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