Review: Keane

If you’re British, it’s probably a no-brainer for you to predict the audience mixture flocking to Keane’s concert at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall: comfortable, marginally hip sexagenarians, with or without their late-30s children who might’ve brought their undergrad children along to a nice family trip-cum-gig. But for a Central European like myself, who has known Keane’s 2004 debut album Hopes and Fears as a popular companion to wistful teenage escapism, the demographic comes as a wee surprise (it’s a whole different world out there on the continent). Another surprise is that even though their newly released Cause and Effect follows a seven-year break, Keane can still pack a venue from top to bottom. Their supporting act Marie White, a fellow East Sussex export, opens the gig with an easy-breezy fusion of sunny R’n’B, emotional vocal flourishes, slightly generic piano chords and some snare drum embellishments for that extra hint of drama.

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Review: Keane – Cause and Effect

You’re probably thinking what we’re all thinking: Keane are still around? Indeed, the once wistful-eyed, award-raking synth pop rock boys from East Sussex, now all in their late 30s and 40s, hit the road again with their newest release Cause and Effect after a 7-year break. Stylistically, the album doesn’t mark new territory for the band but combines reliable Keane staples like Tom Chaplin’s emotionally stripped voice, catchy piano chords and radio potential with occasional X-Factor banality and some surprisingly moving gems. Warning to the musical snob: you’re about to read an analysis of new Keane songs. I warned you.

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Review: Richard Dawson – 2020

Following the hailed release of his bristly concept album Peasant in 2017, Richard Dawson, our favourite bard of the Northeast of England, is back with 2020, an unflinching response to its time which zooms in on everyday life in Brexit-flogged, anxiety-ridden Britain. Fusing his trademark gallows humour and no-frills arrangements with wacky 80s-style sound effects and serious undertones, 2020 doesn’t whitewash a thing as it takes a step away from Dawson’s folk persona into a darker world where ‘the atmosphere is growing nastier’ (as he sings on Jogging).

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Review: Phoenix, Glasgow Youth Film Festival 2019

Norwegian writer-director Camilla Strøm Henriksen admits that she appreciates “things that are not too much in your face”. For her understated but visceral debut Phoenix, she brings her own experience about growing up too early among inept artistic parents to the cinema with unsentimental skill. Screened during the Glasgow Youth Film Festival along with a live Q&A with Henriksen and lead actress Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin in her first role, this was definitely one of the highlights of the festival. Responding to a moved audience with humility and passion, the pair rounded off the intimate experience of the film with a spark that remained palpable on your way home through moody Glasgow.

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Review: The Souvenir

Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir shows that not every bad relationship makes good cinema. Introduced for selected screenings in Glasgow by the charity-funded project Reclaim the Frame, which supports female-directed works, this widely acclaimed film teases with an exciting cast and artistic sensitivity. But while watching the film, I found the awkward script, uncritical depiction of class and static characterisation hard to chew and left the cinema with an upset stomach full of second-hand embarrassments.

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