Review Summary: I'm getting lost within myself.
Something we have in common as a species is the feelings we experience. No matter how our affluence or the framework to our lives differ, the likelihood is we will all violently fluctuate in our emotions. Sorrow finds it's way to each of us through varying circumstances, but intermittently it overstays it's welcome. Whether this is for months, or even years, the grasp it can have is inconceivably exigent to be rid of, bleeding the life you so cherish every second you breathe. Whilst it may seem that nothing good can come of this disease, Keane show that this is not the case. Tom Chaplin sets his outlook of sadness with 'Hopes and Fears', showing us that we are not alone in the barren wastelands of woe.
As the piano ignites the album on opener 'Somewhere Only We Know', it is explicit that this album inhibits a bittersweet tone with the endearing soundscape, and the following lyrical content. The theme tackled with this track is the winsome nature of youth, how euphoria can be found in ignorance, and how nothing is the same when it is abandoned. This theme, as well as the others dealt with on this record, are what gives it a relatable nature, and ultimately gives it it's true quality. Self loathing, dissociation and regression as well as an additional array of topics are discussed, giving an insight to these conditions, whilst also being fairly generalised for comprehension.
The instrumental qualities of this record lie within it's simplicity. Musical complexity is spared for more linear piano laden passages and catchy hooks. The drumming and beats also follows this trend, as there are no technical flourishes present. They simply serve as a stable backbone to the structure of songs, taking the backseat as the vocals and piano soar. Due to this, an unambiguous sound is materialised, making some rather easy listening, whilst the profound themes carried by Chaplin's tender voice give some necessary layering to the record.
The only considerable criticism with this record is the existence of forgettable songs. Namely 'Untitled 1', 'Sunshine' and 'Your Eyes Open'. Whilst these tracks are not necessarily rife with deplorable aspects, they do not harbour any memorable material and merely just blend in with the rest of the album, engendering them into becoming incompetent at carrying the impactful nature of the other tracks. The synth driven climax of 'Bedshaped' and the piano breaks of 'Bend and Break' are examples of these emotive facets those tracks do not possess, causing them to render the album devoid of a greater quality.
Keane have displayed how there are always flickers of light with 'Hopes and Fears'. The problems we face, whether it be drug addiction or mental illness in this case, do not linger forever. No matter how drained, hopeless or empty one may be, there are always rays of happiness in which we have to encounter. It can be overwhelming, like being stranded at sea. Yet, there is always a shore to lift yourself back up, no matter how far away it may be. Keep swimming and don't stop, or else it becomes so easy to be submerged in the endless abyss.