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AUDIO JUNKIE: Alt-rock band kickstarts 2020 with new EP

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Veteran alternative rock and post Brit pop band Keane rings in 2020 by dropping their latest EP “Retroactive” few hours after the New Year revelries.

It was released on the heels of the release “Cause And Effect” just months back. That one was the first set of new materials from the UK band after seven years and a self-imposed hiatus from recording and touring.

Anyway, “Retroactive” is a four-track EP meant for the truest of Keane fans. First sketch of songs such as “Strangeland” from 2011 will be prized for their rawness and the fly-in-the-wall effect this early take has compared to the one that made it to eponymous-album.

It’s the same with “The Lovers Are Losing” from the “Perfect Symmetry” set (2008). Tom Chaplin’s voice sounds raw as well. It’s as if these first take demos were recorded right after a lengthy rehearsal session or perhaps right after a show. And the rawness actually lends a tinge of ragged glory to the songs.

Keane (Facebook)

Keane (Facebook)

One of the band’s best songs is here in the form of a live broadcast performance. “This Is The Last Time,” recorded here with just Chaplin and Tim Rice-Oxley’s piano, still packs the emotional wallop as it did when it was first heard as a cut from the band’s 2004 breakout album “Hopes And Fears.”

Closing the short but sweet selection is another demo of a song from the band’s debut album. “Sunshine” was a hypnotic track with Massive Attack-inspired beats when we first heard it in 2004. The song sounds downright dreamy as a demo version from Keane’s vaults.

Say, the “Retroactive” title has been going on for quite a while now, when Keane first used it in 2005 when “EP1” first appeared and was followed suit in 2010 with, you guessed it “EP2.” But Keane fans probably already knew that as this little EP is just a reminder of what a great band it still is.

Better yet, check out the most recent recorded work from Tom Chaplin, Tim Rice-Oxley and current members Jesse Quin (bassist) and drummer-percussionist Richard Hughes. Those pining for new music from Keane would be delighted to know the new set “Cause And Effect” contains a whopping number of new songs (16!), and that the sound we’ve long associated with Keane—a whole lotta Rice-Oxley’s keyboards, a heaping of Chaplin’s evocative falsetto, and a lot of melancholy made beautiful.

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