Review: Tom Chaplin - The Wave

By Emma Taylor

Since seeing them in 2005 at Hyde Park's O2 Wireless Festival, Keane has reigned as my undisputed favorite band.  Their catchy melodies and choruses never fail to grip me, and even today, finding a song by them that I have never heard is like realizing there's still an unwrapped present under the Christmas tree.  Yet, when I heard that Tom Chaplin, Keane's lead singer, was releasing his debut solo album, "The Wave" in the beginning of 2017, I was hesitant to celebrate.  What if without his two band mates pianist Tim Rice-Oxley and drummer Richard Hughes, his style wasn't something I could whole-heartedly embrace?

From the first chords of the single and opening track, "Still Waiting," my fears were assuaged.  Chaplin's familiar voice paired with Keane's archetypal caress of piano keys drove straight to my core, just as I had experienced more than 10 years ago.  Still backed by a full band, tracks such as “Hardened Heart” are more intimate than ever as Chaplin takes this opportunity to confront his own inner demons and insecurities with introspective lyrics.  Despite the acknowledgement of past struggles, "Quicksand" is a hopeful and reassuring tune as Chaplin, perhaps even addressing himself, admits that though dreams will "fall through, screw you, batter you to black and blue," he'll "keep rolling on." And with this debut, that's exactly what he's done.

Listen to the album here