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Simple, delicate, pristine, and energetic would be just a few words to describe Keane’s music. You can love them, loathe them, or write them off as a few drinks short of a pop band, but you can’t ignore them. With captivating choruses and heartfelt piano tunes, these squeaky-clean English boys make soft-rock music with each and every bone in their body and chiselled into a genre that has thankfully been taking over the airwaves.

In Keane’s music, the piano shapes the main nooks and melodies and combines with the drumming to form a technically capable rhythm, where the falsettos and choral bursts of vocalist Tom Chaplin drown and overcome with utter emotion and sentiment. Even with the lack of the sacrosanct guitar (which the band dropped when guitarist Dominic Scott left in 2001), there is, at times, a thunderous burst of noise, or a wondrous sense of subtlety and melody.

Over the last few years, there was no doubt that the band had pretty much outdone themselves. All they thought they could do was sell a few records, but they ended up topping numerous charts over and over again, winning a plethora of awards, and falling into the same league as Coldplay and Travis. And while excessive success has a way of getting into little heads, Keane takes the right path, making the music they want to make. They only have two albums to their name, which would place them in creative infancy, but they are a band that thankfully do show themselves to grow, and the luck that they have the sacred luxury of ‘complete creative freedom’ cannot be ignored.

Early Years
Keane consists of three blokes from East Sussex: drummer Richard Hughes, pianist Tim Rice-Oxley, and singer Tom Chaplin. Besides loitering around and studying in the same schools and colleges, with dreams of success ~ interspersed into a world where they would play football, listen to music and do everything young lads would do ~ they taught themselves how to play music, and Rice-Oxley finally formed the band in 1995 with guitarist Dominic Scott. They formerly called themselves The Lotus Eaters, but as the name was already taken, they named themselves Keane after an older lady Cherry Keane whom Rice-Oxley and Chaplin knew when they were young. In an interview with The Irish Times, Rice-Oxley explained that the band had originally been named Coldplay, but decided to do away with it, as it seemed too depressing. Rice-Oxley had then offered this name to an old college friend, ‘a certain’ Chris Martin.

Like most other new bands, they started by playing covers and renditions of their favourite songs but soon wanted to perform their own material. The first Keane songs were composed by Rice-Oxley and Scott and were played in pubs around London, following their debut performance at the Hope And Anchor in 1998. “Music was the only thing we all wanted to do,” says the band. “We had nobody to teach us aside from the tapes in our Walkmans and our Beatles’ songbooks, so it took a while to get the hang of playing and writing.”

Under The Iron Sea
Co-produced with Hopes And Fears' Andy Green, Keane’s second album Under The Iron Sea demonstrates a slight rediscovery infused with growth, freshness and a new kind of energy that is clearly evident with tracks like Is It Any Wonder? and Nothing In My Way. The record flows with a new dynamism ~ a slightly darker and more mature theme ~ and it was no surprise to many that it had made it #1 on the British album charts. “In making this record we tried to confront all our worst fears, to ruthlessly scrutinise ourselves, our relationship with each other, with other people, and with the world at large, and to make a journey into the darkest places we could find,” the band says. “In the songs we created a kind of sinister fairytale-world-gone-wrong, a feeling of confusion and numbness represented by a dark place under an impenetrable iron sea.”

You can read the rest of our feature on Keane in the July 2006 issue of The Record Music Magazine available at your local newsagent.


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