Review: Keane's Perfect Symmetry

Keane have always been the wettest of UK bands - it is faintly embarrasing to like them. I, personally, never have. Even Eyewear, open to New Romantic yearning, finds their style over-overblown.

However, their latest album, Perfect Symmetry, arrives as a curio of pop culture worth noting. The album, from booklet design, to production manner, to song composition, is a back-to-the-80s primer (they admit as much in a recent Entertainment Weekly Q&A where they reference Thriller and the Top Gun soundtrack as touchstones of their youth) , as most critics have noted - a melange of Bowie's Let's Dance period, Simple Minds, Tears For Fears, and perhaps most obviously, Vienna-era Ultravox. There's also a bit of Red Rider here, that great unsung 80s band, famous for the song "Lunatic Fringe" if for anything.

As such, it's not unlike Partie Traumatic by that already-forgotten band of the moment. Why all this 80s stuff? I am not sure demand for the period is so high, though obviously, those of a certain age will sigh for it, and those too young to remember it first time around may think it genuinely novel.

Whatever the motives, several of the tracks are delightfully catchy, hyper-flamboyant, pop songs, especially "Spiralling" and "Better Than This". At the end of the day, though, one has to endure a certain earnest tone that might grate on all but the most New Wave-starved ears. Four Specs.