Keane’s first single “Somewhere Only We Know” raced to the top of the U.K. charts in February 2004. As the British band’s popularity continued to grow, the song made its way to the U.S. Although the track was given minimal radio play, those who heard it fell in love and discovered a great new band. I know this because I was one of those people that raced home and frantically searched for the name of the song the announcers conveniently left out.

Four years later, “Somewhere Only We Know” is still my ringtone, and my obsession with the band has taken me all the way to Scotland where I heard them perform in 2005.You can only imagine my excitement when I learned that Keane would be coming out with its third album, “Perfect Symmetry,” on Oct. 14.

I had high expectations — Keane’s first complete album, “Hopes and Fears,” got me hooked on the band and the second, “Under the Iron Sea,” was even better. With this kind of track record, I thought the third album would top them all. But when I sat down on the evening of Oct. 14 to play my most recent iTunes purchase, I was shocked to discover that Keane had ventured away from its roots and into the world of pop.

While the first album had hints of pop scattered throughout, Keane was primarily based in the alternative genre. The bigger change to pop was unexpected and, as difficult as it is for me to say about one of my favorite bands, a disappointment. The band’s uniqueness made it stand out in a wave of artists emerging from the U.K. back in 2004. I can’t help but fear that this new album is just one step toward the band becoming official sell-outs in the American music industry.

Although the band is heading in a new pop direction I dislike, there are still a few songs worth the 99-cent download. If you want to get a taste of what the album is like, “Lovers are Losing” is a great purchase. It was the second single released from “Perfect Symmetry,” and it captures the upbeat and snappy tone set forth by Keane. But for old fans, “Black Burning Heart” provides a flashback to the former albums and sound, which seemed to possess an overwhelming calming effect in the vocals and melodies.

I am confident that “Perfect Symmetry” will find its place in the hearts of American popsters and will continue to climb high on the charts. I only hope that some day in the future, Keane will give in to the hopes of its oldest fan base and return to its somewhat less popular roots. In the meantime, this love affair is far too complex to end, and I will continue to support the band in all its endeavors.