IN 2004 three men from Battle released Hopes and Fears, their hugely-acclaimed debut album.

They became one of the biggest bands in the UK before announcing their shock split in 2014.

But now they are back and Jamie Walker spoke to drummer Richard Hughes about the band’s surprise 2019 reformation and what fans can expect from their new album.

WELL, who would have thought it? Keane, and particularly lead singer Tom Chaplin, may have had their share of trials and tribulations over the years but that is now a dim and distant memory.

Chaplin’s past problems with alcohol and drugs have been well documented but he has been clean for a long time and the band are now back, bang on form and raring to go.

“We really never thought this would happen, we thought we were done,” sKeane drummer Richard Hughes candidly admits as the band prepare to release their first new record in seven years.

When Keane, who hail from Battle, near Hastings, took to Twitter in March to announce a new album was in the pipeline they sent fans into meltdown.

Up until that point the group had only played together once, at a charity gig in their hometown in 2018, since their 2014 split.

In their five years apart singer Tom released his own solo album, 2016’s The Wave, while keyboard player Tim Rice-Oxley and bassist Jesse Quin released their second side project collaboration, Mt Desolation.

For a while it looked like the group would never get back together, but Richard says the reunion had been brewing for a while.

He added: “When we did the show last year it was really fun just getting back together for a couple of days to practise and do that show.

“We had been talking about it for a little while. Tim had written these songs that we were all in love with and wanted to record.

“When we had the conversation about getting back together we agreed that we would only do things if it stayed fun, and so far it’s all been good.

“The bottom line is we’ve known each other for a long time.

“So by the time it came to start recording the new album it seemed like we got back into the swing of things quite naturally.

“We’re really getting back into the swing of what it is to be a band again. It’s been really nice.”

The band’s new album, Cause and Effect, will be released on September 20.

It will be the Keane’s first new material since 2012’s Strangeland and the group will be hoping that the record continues their success in the charts. All four of Keane’s albums to date have peaked at number one.

But, for now, the group are just excited for fans to hear the new material.

Richard said: “We didn’t want it to be Keane-by-numbers.

“We wanted something that we’d be excited to record and play.

“It’s an exciting sounding record and we’re really proud of it, it’s been really fun reconnecting.

“It sounds modern. We’re all music fans and music evolves over time. We don’t feel any less connected to modern music than we did when Hopes and Fears came out (in 2004).

“When you’ve got a singer like Tom you can move quite a long way from home in terms of your musical base.

“You can have quite a lot of fun in the studio.

“Even the old songs have a freshness to them now because we haven’t played them in so long.”

Richard, along with Tom and Tim, grew up in East Sussex, and the drummer says the trio are still extremely close to their roots.

Richard bought his drumkit from Bonners Music Store in Eastbourne, and said back then trips to Brighton were a “once or twice a year kind of treat”.

But once Keane formed the trips to Brighton became more frequent, with the city becoming a second home.

He said: “When I was growing up Brighton was a proper day out.

“You had the GAK guitar and musical instruments shop (which is still flourishing) and The Lanes always felt properly exotic.

“We did a show at the Dome in the early days and that felt like a really big venue for us. That felt like a really local show, it was great fun.

“When you’ve grown up visiting somewhere like Brighton, it’s always pretty nuts going back to play the Brighton Centre.”

Playing the Brighton Centre is exactly what the band will be doing next month, when they headline the city’s biggest venue on their nationwide tour in support of Cause and Effect.

Richard says the show will be “lots of fun” and that playing hometown gigs can have their benefits.

He said: “All my family are coming to the show.

“I’m sure Tim will sleep at home that night, and Tom isn’t far away either.”

But Richard says as most of the band are family men the road can provide a welcome break.

“It can be nice getting to sleep at home but we’ve all got families now so if anything the bus can actually be a bit of a rest,” Richard said.

“Tim was the first guy who had children in the band and he made the point that you used to have a rest at home after the tour but now the rest comes when you get on the tour bus.”

But at heart Richard is a Battle boy, and says he always relishes a chance to be beside the seaside. He added: “I was in Battle earlier this summer visiting my parents who still live in the house I grew up in.

“I posted an Instagram picture from the green there and it’s always lovely being back.

“I went to a really nice cafe in Brighton the other day as well. I know someone who lives in Hove and we went there together. It was Lost in the Lanes, in Nile Street, It was great, we had such a nice lunch there.

“You have to get on the beach as well, and if you have the night off see who is playing because Brighton is pretty spoilt for venues.”