Keane: Going downhill fast

When Keane hit it big a few years ago, I thought they redefined what Indie could be. In fact, if I had a blog then, I would have said: “Keane is redefining what Indie can be”…I think I even said it to a few friends. The piano riffs and moving melodies were a refreshing departure from the same old guitar-heavy junk we hear from every other band.

Fast forward to their next album that I can hardly remember the name of because I found very little of significance on it.  Sure, there were a few good songs, but I thought this was merely a sophomore slump– Keane’s own version of Weezer’s “Pinkerton” (I still get headaches remembering some of the songs on that one). I thought for sure that the third release would be a return to the majesty that was Hopes and Fears.

Instead, we get Perfect Symmetry. Apparently, aforementioned un-memorable sophomore release made Keane think that they had to completely re-define themselves…and bring back the 80s. I hated synthesized piano in the 80s, and I hate it even more now. Has New Wave been gone long enough already that we can bring it back? Please tell me it hasn’t. In songs like “Spiralling,” “Lovers are Losing,” and “Perfect Symmetry,” Keane resurrects the Shiny Happy People bounciness of the 80s, fully-equipped with Wham vocals and Duran Duran synthesizers.  I swear “Better than This” was originally released by Culture Club.

I’m only sad that I had to waste my free Rhapsody listens on this album.

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The next Indie band to make it big on the radio is…

Barcelona.

Every once in a while, you catch a glimpse of an Indie band that has made it through the experimentation and exploration of their tastes and has finally settled on a style that fits them (or has finally decided to do what everyone else is doing…which one is it? You decide.).

Barcelona’s new offering “Absolutes” is on a Decemberist’s-Picaresque breakthrough. I’ve been following them a little, off and on, but this latest album marries Indie-ness (intelligent lyrics, nice use of flowing piano and guitar, experimental beats and rhythms) with a set of contagious harmonies that are sure to have radio stations drooling. With a Keane meets Snow Patrol formula, they’ve got some truly singable songs. Colors, bound to be the first radio single, is fantastic, as is First Floor People.

So, be listening for Barcelona on a radio station near you soon…remember, you read it here first.

Oh, and here’s a free download of one of their songs.

The band also has a “secret download” site if you give them your email.