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Hopes and fears is the debut album of English alternate rock band Keane, it was released in 2004 and the album generated two hit songs in Somewhere only we know and everybody's changing. Keane as a band have had the somewhat unfair tag of being too posh to be popstars, there dress and behaviour are more English boarding school than Ozzy Osbourne's snorting ants or getting their knickers out for the fun of the readers of Heat. However, there music shouldn't be instantly labelled as generic and a little bland, this album shows that a three piece from the south of England without the angst of being brought up in a troubled city can produce one of the best albums of the 2000's.
Keane are a three-piece band, their music is almost uniquely in modern pop music based on the piano rather than the guitar and there sounds have a more haunting quality when compared with contemporaries. With Tom Chaplin on vocals, Tim Rice-Oxley the writer on piano and drummer Richard Hughes, keane's sparse or bare notes are a rare thing in modern music. Here the band play with the quality of Tim's piano playing accompanying rather than drowning out the drums and Tom's vocals and very rarely using guitars to power home an indifferent track.
This approach of piano, drum and voice of course needs a decent singer and in Tom Chaplin the band has one of the better vocalists around at the moment. This was the band's first album and on the back of the two hit singles it sold very well and established the band.
Hopes and Fears
This album captures the angst of modern British men in their twenties; a lot of the songs are about loss, the loss of a girlfriend or a parent, or even the loss of youth. The songs voice the constant drive of the twenty something's to make their way and for their stumbling attempts at relationships and being an adult so we have songs about break ups and songs about meeting on the other side; we also have songs about how hard it is to express your love or your feelings. Here is an album penned by a man in his twenties about being in your twenties, the desire for a place in the world, a girlfriend and those initial steps towards not being your father. Throughout the songs, Tom's vocal capacities come through here is one of the best singers around at the moment, effortlessly carrying a song about loss of a friend or relative in Somewhere only we know to the more upbeat Sunshine.
The stand out tracks on the album are at the start, the superb somewhere only we know, bend and break, we might as well be strangers and everybody's changing are all powered by Tom's voice and the accompanying piano and drum punctuate the angst and pain of being alive. Here are songs about a relationship break up, meeting on the other side surely a song about death and loss and the lament for that chance to say something to someone we love has gone, this song is particularly poignant for me because it was the first song I heard after having to put my beloved dog down last year. Cried oh yes.
If I had to say in my opinion what was the album of the 2000's, then this album would get serious consideration. Superb song craft, brilliant vocals and not a duff song in sight.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Somewhere Only We Know
2 Bend & Break - Andy Green, Keane, Mark 'Spike' Stent, Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, Richard Hughes, David Treahearn, Rob Haggett, Ted Jenson
3 We Might As Well Be Strangers
4 Everybody's Changing
5 Your Eyes Open
6 She Has No Time
7 Can't Stop Now - Andy Green, Keane, Mark 'Spike' Stent, David Treahearn, Rob Haggett, Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, Richard Hughes, Ted Jenson
9 This Is The Last Time
10 On A Day Like Today
11 Untitled 1 - Andy Green, Keane, Mark 'Spike' Stent, David Treahearn, Rob Haggett, Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley, Richard Hughes, Ted Jenson