By MARK SUTHERLAND
History may not judge screenwriter Colin Welland’s ‘‘The British are coming!’’ rallying call at the 1981 Academy Awards too kindly, but don’t be surprised if someone reprises it at the 2007 Grammy Awards. The U.K. biz is enjoying its biggest nominations haul in years. From hitmaker James Blunt to alternative darlings Arctic Monkeys, from Paul McCartney to the cutting-edge electronica of Goldfrapp, every aspect of British pop is represented. At least one band, however, is happy just to be there. Keane has survived the drama of singer Tom Chaplin’s stint in rehab — which caused an American tour to be scrapped in September — to earn a best pop performance nod for ‘‘Is It Any Wonder?’’ from sophomore album ‘‘Under the Iron Sea’’ (Interscope).
Drummer Richard Hughes reckons it’s ‘‘very cool’’ to get a second nod (following a 2006 best new artist nomination) for a ceremony he says is ‘‘like a European award show turned up to 11.’’
The band has no regrets about pulling out of that U.S. tour, Hughes says. ‘‘Commercially it was a very difficult decision,’’ admits Jon Turner, London-based GM of Keane’s U.K. label Island. ‘‘But it was totally the right thing to do. Keane are about having a long career, not just a quick blast.’’
With ‘‘Under the Iron Sea’’ BPI-certified double-platinum (600,000 units) at home, Keane is hoping to replicate that success in America, where it will tour in January. The set has shifted 281,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
‘‘There’s something magical about being a British band from a small town and going to the U.S.A.,’’ Hughes enthuses.