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Last Updated: Friday, 9 January, 2004, 02:00 GMT
Sound of 2004 music poll revealed
Keane
A new band who describe their music as "stadium rock" but have no guitarist have been voted the most promising act on the music scene in a BBC survey.

Keane, from Battle, East Sussex, came top of BBC News Online's Sound of 2004 poll of UK critics and broadcasters to find the best new groups and singers.

Rapper 50 Cent topped last year's list and went on to become a global star.

The other talent in this year's top 10 included Scottish band Franz Ferdinand and east London garage artist Wiley.

SOUND OF 2004 TOP 10
Franz Ferdinand
1. Keane
2. Franz Ferdinand (above)
3. Wiley
4. Razorlight
5. Joss Stone
6. McFly
7. The Scissor Sisters
8. The Ordinary Boys
9. Tali
10. Gemma Fox
See and hear the top 10 artists

Almost 60 influential opinion-formers in the UK - from magazine editors to radio playlisters - were canvassed for the survey.

Among those to tip Keane was BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq, who has said they would lead the way in "a watershed year for British music".

They are "fronted by a guy with vocals the size of skyscrapers", he wrote in The Guardian, adding: "Trust me, it's the year of Big Voices".

They were also tipped by Virgin Radio executive producer James Curran, who said the band had an "immense musical sensibility for melody and a lead singer with a voice that soars and sweeps majestically".

They would be "a band that no-one will be able to ignore in 2004", he said.

And Evening Standard music critic David Smyth said their lack of guitars made for "a really distinctive, classically simple sound" that would be "a surefire route to success".

Keane have already released two singles on independent label Fierce Panda - which launched the careers of Coldplay, Ash and Idlewild - but have now signed a major deal with Island.

For them to have picked us out from all those people, it's quite huge
Tim Rice-Oxley, songwriter

They have also supported Travis, Starsailor and The Thrills on tour.

Songwriter and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley said they were honoured to be chosen by the experts - but were wary of being over-hyped.

"God knows how many bands there are and how many singles and demos there are going around," he said.

"And for them to have picked us out from all those people, it's quite huge."

2003 predictions

HAVE YOUR SAY
Keane fully justify their top placing - a wonderful voice which makes a pleasant change these days.
Martin Clark, Doncaster

The band were confident they could make "a really good first album", he said.

The three band members, all in their mid-20s, met at school and have remained friends since.

They are currently putting the finishing touches to their debut album, which will be preceded by a single, Somewhere Only We Know, in February.

The top 10 drawn up from last year's survey included Mercury Music Prize winner Dizzee Rascal, Jamaican star Sean Paul and Irish group The Thrills as well as 50 Cent.


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