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Sound Check

May 10, 2012
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By Chad Taylor




In 2008, the readers of Q Magazine voted on the greatest British albums ever. Two of Keane’s three albums were in the top 20. Now, Q may have lost its edge, but still. With “Strangeland,” the great things about Keane are still here: Tim Rice-Oxley’s deft piano work continues to prove that one needn’t have a guitar to make great music, and the song construction remains complex and lush. What’s new works, but with caveats. “Strangeland” is easily the most upbeat Keane album, which is right in vocalist Tom Chaplin’s wheelhouse, but the feel good vibe coats the entire album in a saccharine sheen. Some tracks (“Sovereign Light Café”) feel like 1:1 Killers clones, and there’s no question “Strangeland” is Keane playing it safe. But Keane’s version of safe is still pretty solid. CV

King of the Tramps

‘Good People’

Old School Records

I have a soft spot for roots rock, and King of the Tramps do it just about as well as anybody in town. The band has a sound that’s one part throwback to the days of the ragged, R&B-infused rock of the late ’60s, one part Black Keys/White Stripes contemporary. The result is an album, “Good People,” that’s bluesy, at times aggressive and constantly engaging. The title track is a pitch perfect ape of the White Stripes halcyon “White Blood Cells”/“Elephant” days, while “No Pills, No Powder” is a jam band dream, with a driving rhythm section and one of the sexiest guitar hooks you’ll hear. Thematically, “Good People” is more of a sampler platter than a full meal, but that just means that you’re bound to find at least one track to blast the neighbors with. CV

(King of the Tramps plays the Gaslamp on Friday, May 11. Show starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are $5. The Further Adjustments open.)

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