Keane Get Over Their Fears, Want The Funk Instead

English trio trying to avoid treading familiar ground on second LP.

Do you love the soaring, emotional power of songs like "Somewhere Only We Know" from Keane's full-length debut, Hopes and Fears? Well, cherish it while you can, because the next time around things might get a bit messier.

Once they finish their current slate of U.S. dates Saturday in Grand Prairie, Texas, the English trio will begin work on their follow-up (see "Keane Gearing Up To Record New LP, Tour Their Fingers Off"), and singer Tom Chaplin promises they'll be shaking things up.

"[Pianist] Tim [Rice-Oxley] has come up with a bunch of really exciting songs," said Chaplin, 26, during an off day on the tour, when the band did some golfing and visited an alligator farm. "It's the early stages, but there's definitely a sound coming together, and it's just a matter of getting it all on tape and sounding good. We definitely don't want it to sound too polished or easy, we want something more raw and funky and exciting that reflects our live show more."

The group, which also includes drummer Richard Hughes, is pursuing the new sound in part to separate itself from the growing horde of sensitive balladeers clogging the pipeline, from Coldplay to Aqualung, but also because it isn't interested in treading the same ground.

"I'm incredibly proud of the first record and I wouldn't change a thing about it," Chaplin said. "It's about our time together and the seven years it took to get here, but we want to move forward and take a bold step in another direction."

Before you start rolling your eyes, Chaplin said he knows his guarantee sounds like a rap you've heard before: a band announces change but ends up making the same record again. "There is no way we're going to let that happen," he promised. "I can make you a guarantee that the next record won't sound like Hopes and Fears."

So far, the bandmembers have logged a few weeks in the studio working on drum sounds and picking which of the 15 to 20 new songs they think deserve further work. They've already begun road-testing a few of the new tracks, including "Nothing in Your Way," "Try Again" and "Hamburg Song."

In between a few European festival dates in June, an August stint opening for U2 in Europe and one more round of U.S. dates after that, they'll begin recording the as-yet-untitled album with Fears producer Andy Green, with hopes of releasing it in early 2006.

"We've never made a second record, so I can't say anything definitively about which songs will make it," Chaplin said. "That's the part of the journey we still have to make."