Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Keane - Brit-pop balladeers like the piano

Riding the piano-driven, falsetto-voiced wave of popularity brought on by the likes of Travis, Coldplay, and Radiohead before them, Brit-poppers Keane have embraced the softer side of arena rock, sans guitar, and carved out a nice little niche for themselves. The floppy haired boys from Sussex are out in support of their second major-label release ‘Under the Iron Sea,' which is climbing the charts worldwide leading to sold-out shows in clubs and arenas alike.

The Band
Tom Chaplin (vocals), Richard Hughes (drums), and Tim Rice-Oxley (bass, piano) grew up together in Battle, East Sussex, England.  Sharing an affinity for playing music, they formed a band in 1997 and began playing Beatles and U2 covers.  After tiring of playing others’ music in the local clubs, they relocated to London and began writing their own songs. After a few years of toiling in relative obscurity, generating no buzz from their two self-released singles, they scored a break when London-based indie-label Fierce Panda offered to put out their next single, ‘Everybody Changes.'  The song was an immediate smash on local radio and a major-label bidding war ensued.

The Songs
Many of Keane’s lighthearted tunes sound like they were explicitly written for the closing montage of ‘Grey’s Anatomy’.  ‘Somewhere Only We Know,' the lead single off the debut release ‘Hopes And Fears,' is a tale of reminisce; a beautiful, pastoral composition that helped the album become one of the biggest selling in the UK in 2004. On their sophomore effort, ‘Under the Iron Sea,’ the mood has darkened.  Songs like ‘Atlantic,’ ‘Is It Any Wonder,’ and ‘A Bad Dream,’ deal with issues of alienation and doubt.

What’s In a Name?
Urban legend has it that when an old school chum of Rice-Oxley’s named Chris Martin was searching for a good name for his band, Rice-Oxley offered up the name Coldplay, Keane’s original moniker that the band thought too depressing.

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