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Keane revisit their Hopes & Fears

On 10th May 2004 Island Records released the UK’s No.1, biggest selling album of the year ‘Hopes and Fears’, selling over 5.8 million copies worldwide, and garnering two Brit Awards. The album was also voted one of the “Best British Albums” ever in a Q Magazine/HMV poll, the first of two Keane albums to feature in the Top 20. Over the course of ten years as an unsigned band, Keane had written what was to become one of the classic albums of our time, and one of the last multi-million selling albums of this generation. It marked a triumph for the three boys from Battle in East Sussex, but it was a success not without controversy. Check out the Music Fix verdict here.

As a debut record, it stood alone in its originality. The absence of any guitars, a powerful, almost operatic vocal delivery, and a wall of melodic sound made solely from pianos, keyboards and a set of drums. The emotion of the record gave a voice to millions. The landscape at the time was awash with new bands from across the Atlantic, and it took Keane and ‘Hopes And Fears’ to bring all the attention back to British talent. The song writing talent of Rice-Oxley, now world renowned, reaped an Ivor Novello in 2004 for Best Composer of the Year.

Yet despite having written a record that united so many different people from all walks of life across the globe, its sudden phenomenal success almost tore the lifelong friends apart. For with its undisputed accolades, it quickly changed the band’s lives and threatened not only their long-standing friendships, but the career of Keane as well. Having fought against the grain for a decade around the country’s backroom bars in the back of a van, this sudden shot to fame for Keane transformed the very dynamics that had reaped them these rewards in the first place. This sweetest of victories could have turned remarkably bitter, but it created an edge and strength of resolution that had pulled Keane through from day one, and has subsequently set the tone for their future releases and successes ever since.

‘Hopes and Fears’ marks the final and flagship release of the Island 50 classics re-released. In addition to the original tracklisting this deluxe album showcases previously un-released and rare material including early demo ‘Into The Light’, recordings from the band’s earliest Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley radio sessions, the timeless b-side and fans favourite, ‘Snowed Under’ (from ‘Somewhere Only We Know’), and their debut self released singles. The sleeve notes have been penned by long-time supporter Steve Lamacq where he describes the first time he caught them at the Bull and Gate in Kentish Town, “there were only three of them but they sounded huge. They were independent of mind but definitely accessible”.

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