Mosaic / Music / Reviews / May 27, 2010

On shuffle: new reviewer takes over

I will start out by saying how excited I am to be reviewing music every week. Music is something I love; if I could just travel around to concerts reviewing and interviewing for a career I would be insanely happy. My plan for my reign as TKS music reviewer is to try and stay up to date with what is new, as well as maintaining diversity in the genres I review. I would love to have input and suggestions from you the readers.

For my first review I decided to talk about Keane’s newest CD, Night Train. Keane is a British piano-based rock band. This album is an eight song CD written while they were touring their latest full album, Perfect Symmetry.

They are good songs, but not extraordinary for Keane. There is lots of experimentation on some works and some not quite, but it nice to hear a very successful band that isn’t afraid to try new sounds, even if the result could lose them popularity.

A majority of songs seem to be going back to their roots of melodic piano rock. Others resemble the experimentation of Perfect Symmetry while some are completely different from any of their previous work.

“House Lights” is the first song of the album and is a one minute instrumental song that sounds like sci-fi alien music, reminiscent of Iron Sea, an instrumental from their 2006 album Under the Iron Sea.

“Stop for a Minute,” from the beginning, is different from any of their other songs Keane has done. There is a hip-hop vibe because they worked with K’naan, a Somali rapper who was born in Canada. It is nice to have the blend of styles because gives a different sound, but at the same time makes their music which is usually so unique sound more ordinary. Plenty of musicians have blended rap and hip-hop with rock before.

“Looking Back” is the other collaboration with K’naan. Both “Looking Back” and “Stop for a Minute” have very obvious hip-hop starts. A little more blending of the genres within the songs would be nice. The lyrics are nothing extraordinary, but Chaplin’s vocals are nice with the music, just a little whiny at times. K’naan’s flow and rhythm is similar to Lupe Fiasco.

On “Ishin Denshin (You’ve Got to Help Yourself)” they colaborated with Tigarah, a Japanese funk carioca performer and emcee. It is another Keane song that is heavy in vocalizing their views on humanity.

“Your Love” is a first for Keane, the main songwriter and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley takes the microphone for this song. His voice is different enough from Tom Chaplin’s to give some dimension and variety to the song yet it still blends with Chaplin’s voice.

Overall the CD is worth a listen, but it is definitely a B-side. There is nothing super about Night Train, but it is enjoyable. My biggest problem with Night Train is the what is becoming the repetitious theme of Keane’s pessimistic views on humanity.

Jennifer Lloyd

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