Keane, The Zutons

The post-Radiohead saturation of grandly emotional English guitar-rock bands has pretty much been defined by a trend toward ever-greater wimpiness: Technophobic Radiohead begat rain-phobic Travis begat girl-phobic Coldplay begat Keane, who are actually afraid of guitars themselves and so therefore made Hopes and Fears, their debut, with a piano instead. Good for them: "Somewhere Only We Know," the trio's hit single, is luxurious white-male melancholy that finds tremendous meaning in looking at a dead tree's branches. The Zutons are an eccentric junk-rock outfit from Liverpool; if you missed fellow Liverpudlians The Coral during their jaunt through America, they'll do just fine.
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Mikael Wood