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Keane review – note perfect return with added emotional wallop | Music


Afollowing the smash success of their 2004 debut album Hopes and Fears, the breakdown of singer Tom Chaplin’s marriage and drug and alcohol addiction meant things had gone awry by the time Keane took an “indefinite hiatus” 10 years ago. Yet here they are, packing arenas, at least in part thanks to the startling second life of debut single Somewhere Only We Know, a TikTok phenomenon that has clocked up a billion and a half streams.

The band, which reformed in 2019, seem as surprised as anyone to be here. “Hopes and fears… 20 years. It’s incredible,” Chaplin beams, and yet Keane have grown into their own skin. The singer is a far more accomplished frontman than the rather serious, self-aware performer he once was. With his lean build, short gray hair, long Rishi Sunak pants and a voice that soars on the choruses, Chaplin commands the stage as effortlessly as if he were in front of his bedroom mirror. The group is perfect but has the gentle body language of four childhood friends who have had their ups and downs and are enjoying a second chance.

Enjoying a second chance… Keane. Photo: Andrew Benge/Redferns

The presentation – a white light flooding a white stage that extends into the audience – highlights how minimal instruments (voice, bass, piano, drums) create a sound that is epic and atmospheric, but never bombastic. Keane may never have been as dull as some people say he was, but age and experience have taken an emotional toll. Chaplin even admits to being “a little teary-eyed” as the wildly enthusiastic crowd screams in appreciation and forms a mass chorus of woah woahs.

Not everything is “this song”. The likes of Everybody’s Changing, Perfect Symmetry and the lovely Sovereign Light Café hit similar sweet spots between agony and ecstasy. Still, Somewhere Only We Know is met with a sea of ​​people taking pictures on their phones and hugging couples tightly. Written by pianist Tom Rice-Oxley in his parents’ front room, the song remembers a special place in childhood and, with thousands singing it here, has clearly become a source of comfort and joy to countless others.

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