Keane’s 2004 debut album Hopes and Fears was fantastic, and this was for one reason only: it had exquisite melodies from beginning to end. The so-so lyrics and vocalist Tom Chaplin’s asthma attack inhilation style could be tolerated because the tunes were just so good.
At some point, however, it was decided that Keane weren’t ‘cool’, and I don’t think they ever recovered from this damnation of their street-cred. Perfect Symmetry appears to be the album Keane made in order to impress critics, gain respect amongst their peers, and get a good review in NME. It’s this desparation to impress that makes this album an absolute horror show. I can imagine Tim Rice-Oxley bursting into the studio one morning declaring that he’d just discovered Talking Heads and David Bowie, and insisting the band spend their next album trying to emulate them. If I were Byrne or Bowie, I would vomit in my cornflakes if I ever heard this tat. Keane even go as far as to blatantly rip off the synth from Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes on the intro to track Better Than This (before Chaplin starts wailing like he’s just had an eel introduced ino his anus), and, in yet another Bowie arse-kiss, recorded some of the tracks in Berlin.
It’s not often that I give up on an album after only a couple of listens, but this deserves to be an exception. Add to the lousy music an horrendous front cover, and booklet that contains images of the band members wrapped in plastic, and this becomes one of the worst CDs in my collection. Awful.