I sat down to review Is It Any Wonder? with a cup of tea and two
digestive biscuits, expecting the rock-lite of those bashful rosy-cheeked
boys to be the usual, easygoing fare. But to my absolute horror - what's
that noise?! The sound of noisy, electronically-treated guitars?! But this
is Keane! And my digestive biscuits have just got lost in my tea! This
cannot be happening!
But wait! Aaahhhh, here comes the familiar Tom Chaplin vocal, and things
become as you would expect. Which is, ummm, a little bit dreary. It's
business as usual for Keane once the quirky noise of the first 25 seconds,
with Chaplin's mournful vocal and morose lyrics ("Sometimes I get the
feeling that I'm/Stranded in the wrong time"), and the usual piano and drums
from the other two.
The rumour mill prior to this release was buzzing with gossip that Keane
were going to craft something altogether more aggressive, edgy and
different. Is It Any Wonder? isn't really any of these things: its edgiest
moment is its first 25 seconds. The chorus ("Is it any wonder I feel
uptight/Is it any wonder I don't know what's right) is catchy enough, which
we have come to expect from a band who crafted the gorgeous Everybody's
Changing, but ultimately the song doesn't seem to go anywhere and is too
reliant on said chorus.