Ball of Crystal...Song of Tripe...

Keane's latest single sounds a lot like the last - in fact, it sounds like everything they've ever done. Personally I've given up trying to differentiate between Keane songs and whenever the band pops up in conversation I just light a cigarette, take a slurp of wifebeater and shout "cock and (perhaps crystal) balls".

As usual 'Crystal Ball' is a lush, production-heavy cacophony of blandness that makes you think you're wearing ear muffs when you're not. The title is particularly evocative however as I'd love to see all this group of imbeciles locked in a tent with a cackling old wench who reeks with the subtle fragrance of roasted cat. But then I reckon all fairground gypsies are a nefarious, calculating and generally unpalatable bunch of tricksters anyway.

Don't think of me as prejudiced (but let's face it - we all are) I'm not going to go mad and start spanking off about how they're all a bunch of criminals who spend their days eating beans, washing clothes with a bar of Lux and a cheese grater before indulging in a free-for-all orgy with members of their immediate family. I'm talking about how they exploit the ridiculous zeal for death inherent in the human genome.

Fairgrounds exist because some people are willing to pay someone to try and kill them in a stupid way. The "rides" (you see they've even given them a jovial name to disguise their malicious purpose) you get at these places are not fun - unless you have the I.Q. of a chain-smoking, talcum-snorting soap-encrusted rabbit. The rides are instruments of death.

Some of you may disagree and argue that it is exciting to be thrown about the place at Mach 5, as your stomach is rammed through your bowels and your heart begins to melt and ooze through your armpits. I pity you. You're probably the same people who indulge in 'Extreme Lunchboxing' at the weekend and dream of eating Poisonous Berry Stew with Ray Mears in the middle of a buffalo stampede.

Believe me, I'm all for a bit of excitement and jolly activity - but I can get the same nerve-jangling effect of a rollercoaster ride by attempting to cross the Old Kent Road on a Saturday night without getting shot, mugged, raped or clobbered by a bendy fucking bus. And it's free.

But anyway - back to the balls. I am a man who is rarely surprised. However, 'Crystal Ball' genuinely surprised me. The chorus is so laughable (I'm hoping that saying this doesn't ruin my reputation as a hard-as-nails granite-faced toughie), that it almost brought a tear to my eye. So - and without further ado - here it is: 'Oh crystal ball/Oh crystal ball/Save us all/Tell me life is beautiful'. I think I've proved my point.

If you like Keane, you'll love it. If you like music, you'll hate it. If you went to the fairground at the weekend, you're probably already dead so the decision whether to buy it or not is one that has already been made for you.