Strangeland actually takes things right back to square one. The band, in fact, claim it’s like “a 3D return” to the sound of their debut. But 3D tends to be glossy but unrewarding, and songs like “Silenced by the Night” sound as if they could have been written by their accountant. That being said, Tom Chaplin’s cherubic vocals, perched over these spacious arrangements do have a certain sweeping quality and won’t disappoint fans of Hopes and Fears. In fact, from a “glass half-full” point of view you could argue that Strangeland‘s expansive keyboard sound harks back to the heyday of Eighties stadium rock. The problem is that there just isn’t enough emotion you can believe in. And that means that about half the tracks come over a bit Snow Patrol-lite; which is pretty flimsy indeed.
The band’s new release Strangeland might seem like a backwards step, since it very much returns the group to the mode of chiming, mid-tempo piano rock established on Hopes and Fears (2004) and Under the Iron Sea (2006).