Sound — 10
Keane has some of the most quality sound you'll find in music these days, and "Under The Iron Sea" proves nothing of the contrary. Many fans noticed that the band moved to a more U2-esque sound since their debut album, "Hopes & Fears" (2004). It may be a different sound, yes, but it is the same Keane and the same quality you'd expect. The band was under a lot of tension and stress during the production of this album, but they have released something I'd call a masterpiece.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrics that Keane produces are decent, if not good. They have their bad moments, though. In "Leaving So Soon?", one of my favorite songs, Tom Chaplin (lead vocals) begins with some pretty blatantly generic lyrics that you wouldn't expect Keane would fall for. The sng picks itself up in due time though. Some lyrics are pretty lame, as in "The Frog Prince" and "Crystal Ball". However, Chaplin has such a great voice that in the long run, the lyrics don't really matter.
Overall Impression — 8
It's not "Hopes & Fears", but it's close. The opening track, "Atlantic" is one of my favorite songs, beginning with a melancholy, powerful piano section by Tim Rice-Oxley, soon joined by Richard Hughes (drums), and then by Chaplin. It begins as a promising album, and it never falters too much along the way. Other favorites are "Is It Any Wonder?", "Nothing In My Way?", "Leaving So Soon?", "Crystal Ball." It's not my favorite album, but it is a great one, and it would be sad if I lost it.