The mid-00s was truly a great time to be in a band. People bought your CDs, read about you in the NME, and inserted your links into their poorly formatted Myspace pages. Labour were pumping funding into the arts, the indie scene was exploding, guitar music was a booming industry. Now CDs, the NME and Myspace are all dead or dying. But Keane are, evidently, not.
When the tide rises so too do the boats and Keane were a very leaky schooner that benefitted hugely from the cultural climate of three-guys-playing-instruments-so-it-must-be-good. They could write a catchy melody – ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ is, ironically, known by a great many people. Hopes and Fears had its share of tuneful piano songs. The funs stops shortly after that (although Perfect Symmetry had its moments).
If Keane are remembered now at all it’s largely in the minds of people who enjoy bland music. Nobody is going to fight to the barrier at a Keane show, or wear their merch round the shops. They aren’t a band who inspire passion – even from people who like their music – so a comeback was always going to require a hatch battening anthem to register as a blip on anybody’s radar.
‘The Way I Feel’ is the sort of song that would be buried under the countless new releases this week more interesting than it, were it not for Keane being attached. It sounds unfinished.
There’s no discernible hook, and the chorus fails to resolve into anything, so much so that at first I didn’t realise the chorus had started. The video’s high energy is almost laughable in contrast to the song itself which is unmistakably the sound of four people comfortably sat down. Keane play so flat. Dead flat.
It isn’t terrible but that would at least register some kind of emotion – revulsion probably, but that’s preferable to how this will make you feel: numb. It feels like local anaesthetic.
Keane’s comeback can take some credit for reminding the writer of that Roachford song of the same name (which is of course infinitely better), however what we have here is more low-stakes low-energy pop music. They may have always been soap opera but these days they aren’t even good soap opera: they’re The Bill. And that show isn’t on the air anymore…