Though in the past Keane have been harshly criticized for playing it too safe and being overly calculating with their choices, this criticism cannot continue with their third release. Not that it is wildly different in sound (there are some, which will be addressed later), but it is in scope. Their huge ambitions can be felt from the opening lyrics. Keane have tried to make an album that will provoke thought and action. They are trying hard, maybe a bit too much at times, but give them full marks for not just sitting on their laurels.
Keane have become the poster boys for Brit Pop. They play a pleasing brand of melodic pop music with anthemic choruses. Where in the past the trio has relied almost exclusively on drums and keyboards to make their sound they have expanded their use of instruments a bit on "Perfect Symmetry". This sounds more like something that could have been made in the 80s with the bongos, electronic basslines, synthesizers, and (gasp!) even cowbells. Of course, the fundamental instrument is still the piano but its sound is fleshed out by these other accoutrements. A pleasing change, I say. It cannot be claimed that songwriter/keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley cannot write a great pop song. The man has the fever!
What I really enjoy about this album is how they are able to place biting lyrics like "We are just monkeys that fell out of the trees…We are not flowers, we are the strangling weeds in the garden" alongside some of the more peppy beats known to man. Interesting juxtaposition for a 'simple' pop band.