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Strangeland Deluxe Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 136 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Deluxe Edition, May 8, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Deluxe edition includes four bonus tracks. 2012 release, the long-awaited fourth album from the British Pop band. Keane is singer Tom Chaplin, drummer Richard Hughes, keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley and bassist Jesse Quin. Four years have elapsed since Keane's last album Perfect Symmetry; two since Night Train, the EP which followed its three full-length predecessors to the top of the British album charts, securing them a place in pop history. If Keane's feverishly loyal fan base wondered what the group's next album would sound like, they weren't the only ones. In the eight years following the release of 2004's 9x platinum Brit award winning Hopes & Fears, every Keane album has marked a clear progression from the previous one: the anxious emotional terrain mapped out by Under The Iron Sea to the iridescent poptimism of Perfect Symmetry. Strangeland was produced by Dan Grech (Radiohead, The Vaccines, Howling Bells), recorded at Sea Fog, Keane songwriter/pianist Tim Rice-Oxley's studio in South Downs, UK.
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Digital Booklet: Strangeland
Digital Booklet: Strangeland
Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2012)
  • deluxe_edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Deluxe Edition
  • Label: Interscope
  • ASIN: B007EC6FIS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,332 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Some professional reviewers have bashed Keane for playing it safe with the piano sound reminiscent of Hopes and Fears. But the similarities are pretty superficial. Strangeland is much more personal, and has elements of Perfect Symmetry as well as Hopes and Fears.

Songs like "Bend and Break," "Everyone's Changing," and "This is the Last Time" were about changing relationships. They had widescreen epic melodies, and we all remember these as among Keane's best songs. The lyrics were general and could apply to anyone: "When you forget your name/ When all faces look the same..."

Basically speaking, Keane writes songs about relationships and the difficulties of life and upbeat or encouraging songs, or songs that offer advice. I've always preferred the more personal ones, and Strangeland has some of both. Overall, though, it has many breakup songs that seem to be about specific situations from Tim Rice-Oxley's life: the sad "Watch Yourself Go" (wishing a lover well while saying goodbye); "Silenced By the Night" (predicting a new stage in a benighted relationship - lots of light/dark imagery in the album); or "Disconnected" (describing estrangement). These are far more specific than the anthemic songs about alienation and fear in "Hopes and Fears." They're more grown up.

The piano sound has changed too. "Sovereign Light Cafe" and "Neon River" have tasteful synthesizer touches (but nothing like the overwhelming synth on Perfect Symmetry). Tim pounded the keys like Elton John in the early stuff; along with Richard's rock-style drumming, this gave the songs real kick. The playing is more complex here - and functions more as an accompaniment to the vocals, which absolutely take center stage. No one has every complained about Tom Chaplin's singing, to my knowledge.
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Format: Audio CD
The "classic Keane sound" is back. While that is definitely good news, it comes with some baggage.

For background purposes, I will say that I loved the first two Keane albums and loathed the second two. This album, as others have already said, brings back the piano and gives us some catchy, snappy tunes similar to the first two albums.

That being said, there is something lacking on this album- I think it lacks a certain depth. A lot of the songs come across as generic and almost forced; there is a lot of good music here but not a lot of emotion.

The album opens with "You Are Young." It's a nice little song, but carries the depth of the average television commercial. "You've got time to realize / you're shielded by the hands of love / `cause you're young!" Blah.

"Disconnected" has my favorite "hook" of the album- it features a great chorus that's tough to get out of your head. However, it starts with two weak verses that almost sound like it was written too low for Tom Chaplin's vocal range. "Something's crept in under our door" - those are the opening lyrics that provide a bizarre visual to a song with more promise than what's delivered.

"Silenced By the Night" and "Sovereign Light Café" come the closest to the emotion of the older Keane albums. There are plenty other bright spots as well.

I struggled between giving this album 3 or 4 stars; 3.5 sounds about right. It's not fair to compare Strangeland to Hopes and Fears or Under the Iron Sea and to give it credit, Strangeland has its moments. But there is no "Atlantic" on this album, a song that is heartbreakingly raw and emotionally charged. There is a lot of pleasant-sounding music, but once you give it a few listens, the charm wears off.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I couldn't be more stunned by the three reviews before mine. "Strangeland" is an exceptionally strong return to solid ground for Keane, whose first two albums set the bar. I do agree that the third album, "Perfect Symmetry," as well as the fourth, "Night Train," were disappointments with only a few standout tracks each. That's partly why I love "Strangeland" so much -- it's a return to the sublime Keane sound of old, yet burnished with maturity and confidence. Even if this were the first Keane album I'd ever heard, I'd be feeling just as good about it. High points, in my opinion, are "You Are Young," "In Your Own Time" and "Strangeland," but it's hard for me to single those out when nearly all 16 tracks are so good. There is NOTHING I want to skip here, and that's rare for me. "On the Road" and "Day Will Come" round out the top 5. As I listen to the album more, I suspect that "Black Rain," "The Starting Line" and others will grow on me. The astonishly good b-side, "Myth," is not included on the album, but I was able to get that elsewhere and thus complete the package. Weakest tracks -- and these are still fine, just not memorable -- are "Neon River," "Boys," and "Sea Fog" -- I don't know why some listeners like "Sea Fog" so much, it's got a pretty sound but it's so boring compared to the rest of the tracks. If there's one complaint I'd make, it's that the songs are short; almost all of them are under 4 minutes. That's a shame, because with tunes this good, you really want to get into them and make them last. Fortunately, Keane gives us 16 songs here, so the album's total length is a very fine one hour. Bottom line: I'm really impressed by "Strangeland" and it will be stuck in my player for quite a while going forward.
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