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Music Helps Keane Overcome Troubles

Of the Oakland Press

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Keane wound up experiencing concerns greater than a mere sophomore slump in the 12 months since its second album, “Under the Iron Sea,” came out.

After the success of 2004’s “Hopes and Fears,” the top-selling British album that year and a hit in the United States as well, “Under the Iron Sea” went straight to the top of the U.K. charts and hit No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart. And then the bottom fell out.

Last summer, Keane began canceling shows due to frontman Tom Chaplin’s health. He ultimately checked into London’s Priory Clinic to be treated for drug and alcohol abuse, emerging after 2 1 /2 months but still undergoing outpatient care.

But Tim Rice-Oxley, Keane’s keyboardist and chief songwriter, says the ordeal has actually helped to ground the band more.

“As ever, the music is the thing that binds us together,” he says. “I think we’ve got a lot more perspective this time. We realized we need to kind of enjoy ourselves every step of the way rather than forever thinking about what’s happening tomorrow or thinking about the next step or the next move.”

That means Keane is allowing itself to enjoy the accomplishment of “Under the Iron Sea,” which spawned the uptempo hit “Is it Any Wonder?” Rice-Oxley, 30, acknowledges the album had a difficult birth under the weight of the pressures created by “Hope and Fears’ ” success. Nevertheless, the band, which will be among those playing the July 7 Live Earth concerts, overcame that and is all the better for it, he says.

“I think we realized quite early on in the recording process that it was only going to be counterproductive to worry about what everyone else was going to think,” notes Rice-Oxley, who also co-wrote songs for Gwen Stefani’s second solo album, “The Sweet Escape.” “You can drive yourself mad worrying what the fans are going to think, what the media’s going to think, whether the record label’s going to be happy.

“But that’s not really what Keane’s about at all. We’ve never been about that. I’m quite thankful we had the good sense early on to realize we just had to make a record that was thrilling to us — that’s all. We were pretty sensible about that, I think.”

Keane and Rocco Deluca & the Burden perform at 6 p.m. Saturday (May 19th) at the State Theatre, 2115 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $29.50-$45. Call (313) 961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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