In an arid world of snark, Keane is like an oasis of earnestness. Four albums deep, the bright Brit pop band behind hits like “Somewhere Only We Know” and “Is It Any Wonder?” continues to impress with its ability to convey a good-natured sense of optimism without tipping too far into maudlin territory. The quartet — and its chief songwriter Tim Rice-Oxley — wisely leavens the album’s fist-pumping anthems (“Silenced by the Night,” “On the Road”) and gentle paeans of reassurance (“Watch How You Go,” “You Are Young”) with streaks of contemplative melancholy and a Pied Piper’s sense of irresistible melody. Dark and light bounce back and forth but light prevails. Rice-Oxley also has a way with image and rhythmic phrasing. Frontman Tom Chaplin continues to imbue it all with freshness and wonder making “Strangeland” an inviting place. (Out Tuesday)
Essential “Watch How You Go”
Keane plays the House the Blues on June 12.