The 5th formal studio album for Keane, labeled Island Records and published on 20th of September titles Cause And Effect, has 11 tracks and is a many-layered, vulnerable and disheartened pastiche. Tim Rice-Oxley’s break up is the core of this new album, the first one in seven years following the hiatus from 2014 to late 2018. A motif that only rarely finds itself originally developed in an attractive, sharp-witted tunes. On the contrary: some of the album (clearly in the second half of it) amounts to an unsalted ballad, a passionless transition that sounds more like b-side jam sessions than an actual, promising comeback from the band which yielded the riotous, sorrowful alt-rock sound a prestigious place in world-wide fan base along with Coldplay and Muse.
Tim’s textures are the bones and spine of the group dynamic, and that’s pretty clear from the beginning, in You’re not home the delicacy of an imaginary electronic carillon gently flowing into a rarefied dream is perfectly counterbalanced by Tom Chaplin’s choirboy soprano gemstone-voice. Love too much has Brandon Flowers’s appeal, delivering a statement that blows a fuse of honesty: Only want to say that I gave it all I had / That I felt afraid and I didn’t step back /Whether right or wrong/ I did everything with love. But the track goes through the motions, its acridness doesn’t really find a musical alter-ego to be wholly conveyed. It lacks a liberating refrain, which is otherwise the pulsing heart of the leading single The way I feel, with its rhythmic propulsion that shortly flashes in the overall desolated geography of the tracks.
Put the radio on poetically reverberates along Somewhere only we know universe, where intimacy is craved for resisting daily adversity. It weakens the rhythm in the tiring attempt to go for the right refrain and the impeccable melodic construction, which has always been their trademark, is not enough to definitively take off. Strange Room strips off with candid allure, signing up as one of the best tracks the Sussex band ever conceived: a melancholic oil painting on canvas painted by romantic disasters and condensed by tension. Stupid Things is a forlorn account of pop despair, where lies are the common denominator of couple life, a never-shifting skin that is artistically translated with a pop scratch that ramps up.
Keane try to mix the cards, to bring a bit of panache, but the perky electric Phases minuet, although pleasant, fails to drive away the shadow of adult Take That. Maybe the intuition was clear from the beginning: better to settle for the more professional moments that try to get close, as far as possible, to the glories of the beginning, perhaps putting too much pressure on the craft, as in the other single Love Too Much, but remembering how to compose a beautiful pop song with all the trappings (Chase The Night Away).
On this note, Cause And Effect verges on a big question mark, a hard-to-define horizon, spotted with moments of cloistered intimacy, heart-melting brutality and on the same time with lethargic pop instants(I need your love) destined to be relegated to the second fiddle.