Keane - Crystal Ball
Alex Worsnip 16/08/2006
I'm really tired of having to give 2-star reviews to wussy indie bands. Never particularly great, but always relatively palatable, they are the aural equivalent of baked beans. And Keane, in ultimately middling fashion, manage to pitch somewhere in the middle of the quality stakes: better than the Asda-price Athlete, but not quite up to the Taste The Difference of Coldplay. You may wonder why I persist with these culinary analogies; hint: it's because this single is really rather dull. Like its predecessor 'Is It Any Wonder', it's a little more confident and shiny than their previous work and sports the kind of catchy but banal tune that might stick with you for a few hours before being lost in your brain amidst a mass of similarly grey sludge. Actually, it's typical 'second single' material, no doubt heralded on the release of the album as a 'standout' and, in a classic hallmark of such a track, containing the album's title lyric.
To be fair, it's a pleasantly chirpy effort that bounces along with some genuine energy and sonic sweep, clearly produced and confidently arranged, so it's not as inert as some of their previous efforts, and is their best track since the genuinely lovely 'This Is The Last Time'. Lyrically, it does verge into self-help manual territory with its 'positive message' a little, but it does the job. But frankly, I don't need to listen to Keane getting the job done: it's bearable but has nothing in particular to recommend it next to far more imaginative music being produced elsewhere. For some reason my promo copy comes in a rough, almost sandpaper-ish sleeve, which ironically reminds me of that old Manics promise to put a single in a sandpaper sleeve that would erode other records. This record won't be doing that in my collection for two reasons: firstly, it isn't rough enough (everything in half measures with Keane), but secondly, it won't be lodging its way into my collection any time soon.