Keane - The Lovers Are Losing
Mark Shields 06/10/2008
'Experimental' is a time old buzz word used in the music business to try and inject a certain amount of uncertainty into a band's newer material. It normally works with the release of a very unusual single and then the release of an album filled with unique tracks that stand out in the band's back catalogue. Keane has done that trick before - last time they released Is It Any Wonder? it was met with the description of being 'different' - and 'epic' thrown in for good measure - and the resounding opinion was a general shrug. The single, whilst being a good rallying call, was not indicative of the album. Under the Iron Sea was filled with the same sort of swaying, willowy ballads that gave many people the vomits when listening to Keane's debut but also gave the band their millions of album sales.
So here we go again, and we're hearing 'different' and 'experimental' mentioned in the breath of their new record, and with the download release of Spiralling they had done it again - a different single and a different approach to an album… or is it? No. The Lovers are Losing, the first 'proper' single (by which they mean that they get some money for it) is simply Keane by numbers. The jaunty Keane piano keys in the background, the overlaid vocals by Tom Chaplin, the rousing melody hook of the epic chorus and the middle slow down whisper of a short line over a few chords chugging away, before building up again and going epic again, are all here, and are all exactly the same as before.
So, business as usual? Yes, at least on this evidence. The album may have Kid A stylings, a track sounding like Rammstein, and a mesmerising 20-minute epic closing track, but it is very unlikely. This is Keane by numbers, and whilst the numbers add up to something worth listening to in the car, on Radio 1, or lofting a lighter to in the stadium, boundaries are not even looked at, never mind touched, pushed or broken.