Perfect Symmetry

Performers Keane

Interscope | October 14, 2008 | Compact Disc

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Keane bids adieu to uplifting ballads and ushers in a different style -- '80s-influenced pop -- with Perfect Symmetry. While the album isn't solely devoted to exploring that new genre, it's certainly the focus, and "Spiralling" appropriately kickstarts the set with whooping vocals and retro synthesizers. "When we fall in love," sings Tom Chaplin in his Wembley-geared voice, "we're just falling in love with ourselves." Coming from the same mouth that once crooned the over-earnest strains of "Somewhere Only We Know," those lyrics are wholly different -- a sign that four years spent in the shadow of U2, Coldplay, and other like-minded bands have convinced Keane to make their own Achtung Baby. Of course, that album saw U2 turning sonic experimentation into something entirely inventive, which Perfect Symmetry doesn't quite accomplish with its own mixture. This isn't quite art, after all; it's mostly just fun, shot through with a self-consciously cheesy approach that's engineered to sound little like the department-store rock of 2004's Hopes and Fears. "Fun" seems to be at the top of the band's agenda, though, and Perfect Symmetry accordingly succeeds in doing away with most of the pre-conceived notions that accompany Keane records. The "old" sound doesn't even surface until midway through the album, when the album's title track offers up a combination of sparse piano notes (later giving way to dense, double-fisted arpeggios) and a meteoric melody in the chorus. But that's the exception, not the rule, and Perfect Symmetry sounds more comfortable during its truly unexpected moments: the spacy blips and bleeps of "You Haven't Told Me Anything," the synthesized anthem "Again and Again," and the energetic "Wooooooh!" that opens the entire album. The band's underlying strength remains Chaplin's ability to turn a melodic phrase with grace and dexterity, which fails to lose its vitality no matter the musical context, but Keane's willingness to take these left-hand turns deserves its own share of accolades. [A two-disc deluxe edition was also released, with demo recordings comprising the second CD.] ~ Andrew Leahey

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: October 14, 2008

Genre: Alternative

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 2

Label Name: Interscope

UPC: 602517858732

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Perfect Symmetry

Perfect Symmetry

Performers Keane

Format: Compact Disc

Released Date: October 14, 2008

Genre: Alternative

Style: Rock & Pop

Number of Discs: 2

Label Name: Interscope

UPC: 602517858732


Title Track Time
0.DISC 1: --
1.Spiralling --
2.Lovers Are Losing, The --
3.Better Than This --
4.You Haven't Told Me Anything --
5.Perfect Symetry --
6.You Don't See Me --
7.Again & Again --
8.Playing Along --
9.Pretend That You're Alone --
10.Black Burning Heart --
11.Love Is The End --
0.DISC 2: BONUS DISK: --
1.Spiralling --
2.Lovers Are Losing, The --
3.Better Than This --
4.You Haven't Told Me Anything --
5.Perfect Symetry --
6.You Don't See Me --
7.Again & Again --
8.Playing Along --
9.Pretend That You're Alone --
10.Black Burning Heart --
11.Love Is The End --

Editorial Notes

Keane bids adieu to uplifting ballads and ushers in a different style -- '80s-influenced pop -- with Perfect Symmetry. While the album isn't solely devoted to exploring that new genre, it's certainly the focus, and "Spiralling" appropriately kickstarts the set with whooping vocals and retro synthesizers. "When we fall in love," sings Tom Chaplin in his Wembley-geared voice, "we're just falling in love with ourselves." Coming from the same mouth that once crooned the over-earnest strains of "Somewhere Only We Know," those lyrics are wholly different -- a sign that four years spent in the shadow of U2, Coldplay, and other like-minded bands have convinced Keane to make their own Achtung Baby. Of course, that album saw U2 turning sonic experimentation into something entirely inventive, which Perfect Symmetry doesn't quite accomplish with its own mixture. This isn't quite art, after all; it's mostly just fun, shot through with a self-consciously cheesy approach that's engineered to sound little like the department-store rock of 2004's Hopes and Fears. "Fun" seems to be at the top of the band's agenda, though, and Perfect Symmetry accordingly succeeds in doing away with most of the pre-conceived notions that accompany Keane records. The "old" sound doesn't even surface until midway through the album, when the album's title track offers up a combination of sparse piano notes (later giving way to dense, double-fisted arpeggios) and a meteoric melody in the chorus. But that's the exception, not the rule, and Perfect Symmetry sounds more comfortable during its truly unexpected moments: the spacy blips and bleeps of "You Haven't Told Me Anything," the synthesized anthem "Again and Again," and the energetic "Wooooooh!" that opens the entire album. The band's underlying strength remains Chaplin's ability to turn a melodic phrase with grace and dexterity, which fails to lose its vitality no matter the musical context, but Keane's willingness to take these left-hand turns deserves its own share of accolades. [A two-disc deluxe edition was also released, with demo recordings comprising the second CD.] ~ Andrew Leahey
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