This Week in Modern Rock

I sort of reluctantly bought the new Keane album despite two overwhelmingly negative experiences:

1. Their last album was really disappointing, and
2. They got a poor review from Blender magazine, whose reviews I mostly trust.

But after sampling a few of the songs and knowing Keane were moving over toward the Killers-esque synth sounds of New Wave rock, I acquiesced.

Although the members of Keane are cuter than your average boy band, they’re smarter too. Perfect Symmetry, the new album, while deeply influenced by the synthesized rock of the early to mid-80s, is much more intelligent, has a greater sense of craft, and has–even–interesting lyrics.

The album has a bit of a bell curve so far in terms of quality. High points are “Spiralling,” “Perfect Symmetry,” and the manically maudlin (but hopeful?) “Pretend That You’re Alone,” which alleges:

We are just the monkeys who fell out of the trees
We are blisters on the earth
We are not the flowers, we’re the strangling weeds
In the meadow
And love is just our way of looking out for ourselves
When we don’t want to live alone

The keyword here is probably “catchy.” Keane’s music has always been interesting, but the new album has a pop sensibility absent from their previous efforts. The surrender to danceable rhythms is obviously what sold me as I am now and forever a devotee of disco’s exodus into rock music.

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