Keane: Night Train

Keane: Night Train
Sussex, England-based rock band Keane have been a critical and commercial success since their 2004 debut album, Hopes and Fears. All three of the groups full length albums reached number one on the UK charts. Their 2004 sophomore album, Under the Iron Sea peaked at number 4 on American charts. It has been two years since their last full length album, Perfect Symmetry. In lieu of a new album, Keane releases the eight song EP, Night Train.
Not many commercially successful bands release EPs. EPs usually are produced by indie bands who want to sell 7 inch or 12 inch vinyls in a myriad of colors to their fans. When bigger bands release EPs, its usually to take a chance. This is the case with Keane. Keane has traditionally been known as a piano-pop band. They have drawn comparisons to bands like Coldplay and Snow Patrol but Perfect Symmetry marked the band departing from the adult alternative contemporary sound and Night Train continues the departure.
The EP’s first single is “Stop for a Minute”. The track immediately distiguishes itself from Keane’s other work because it features rapper K’Naan. K’Naan’s appearance is not like Jay-Z‘s token appearance on Coldplay’s “Lost+”, instead “Stop for a Minute” seems to be a track tailored to feature a rapper. The track is electropop with a big arena rock chorus. K’Naan is the perfect type of rapper to guest on such a song. He’s not too hood to appeal to Keane’s audience and his word play and flow can adapt to any environment. The single might be one of the strongest of Keane’s career.
Luckily, K’Naan’s presence is not just delegated to “Stop for a Minute”. He also guests on “Looking Back”. The EP also contains an appearance by Tigarah. The Japanese female rapper/singer guests on “Ishin Denshin (You’ve Got to Help Yourself)”. Much of Tigarah’s internet buzz has been built becuase of her mixture of grime and crunk, unfortunately none of that comes through on “Ishin Denshin (You’ve Got to Help Yourself)”. The track is overly poppy and Tigarah ops to sing listless verses that could have been performed by literally any Japanese female singer.
Besides the disappointing “Ishin Denshin (You’ve Got to Help Yourself)”, Night Train might be Keane’s best release to date. The EP takes risks but nearly all of them pan out. While this will not replace fans’ want for a full-length album, this should give the fans more than enough great new songs to enjoy. If this is truly the direction the band is going towards, Keane’s next album should be killer.
Rating: 7.5/10
MP3: Keane featuring K’Naan “Stop for a Minute”
Buy: iTunes