Keane - The Best Of Keane
Possibly the most Marmite band of recent times, Keane are to ”take a bit of time out from being Keane” following this Best Of. Despite the critics they can’t feel too bad about three top 4 singles, five number 1 albums including their mighty debut Hopes and Fears, Grammy nominations, Brit, Q, and Ivor Novello Awards, all backed up by some big time world tours. So who cares if you don’t like them; this stocking-filler release is a good chance to step back and take stock of how Keane rolled and see where they sit in the scheme of music since the millennium.
Of their early tracks, ‘Everybody’s Changing’ now seems a bit whingy (“Everybody’s changing / And I don’t feel right”) and ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ is a reminder of the days when they were heralded as a guitar-less indie band (Confession: it is still lovely). ‘Bend & Break’ is their most upbeat, and ‘Bedshaped’ their emotional best. ‘Atlantic’ is their unofficial James Bond theme, and then, well they kind of wander into bland MOR territory on ‘Is It Any Wonder?’, ‘Nothing In My Way’, and the dull as you like ‘Hamburg Song’. It’s all rescued slightly by ’Crystal Ball’ before being properly redeemed by the disco ball pop of ‘Spiralling’. The ‘wilderness’ years, where the singles dried up, is briefly visited, before the return to form of recent single ‘Higher Than The Sun’. And that’s that for Keane. With a bit of careful pruning, down to say twelve tracks, you’d have a great representation of one of the great British exports of recent years; as it is this feels like a slightly bloated depiction of the guitar-less wonders.