Sound — 8
Ah, the second album. That most difficult of mountains to climb. Many a band have tried and failed at the second hurdle. Unlike Keane, who, although changing their image and musical style slightly in the process have come out on top with Under The Iron Sea. Pretty difficult to try and summarise the musical style of Keane now. The range goes from overly happy in Put It Behind You, to overly depressing in Try Again, with every song in the middle delivering a different style. I must admit, upon first impressions (and this isn't an album that gets good first impressions), I was a little startled by the direction Keane had taken with Is It Any Wonder? but I managed to see the light upon purchase and intense repeated listening.
Lyrics — 7
A little disconcerting to hear Tom sing the lyric: 'Who is the man I seek/Where I'm supposed to be.' Sorry if some think that's narrow-minded but my pre-pubescent brain couldn't help but utter a tiny inkling of laughter. Don't quite know where Tom's influences are this time, but they certainly seem more down to earth than Hopes and Fears. Overall, nice lyrics. Interesting side note: Absolutely hated lyrics in The Frog Prince, sounded like audition for Eurovision Song Contest from country of Lithuania and suchlike, although it does happen to be my favourite song of the bunch, musically. Again, as with H&F, great use of Tom's high voice (getting higher with age), although still sad drought of vocal harmony.
Overall Impression — 9
Definitely an improvement on Hopes & Fears, and that's no mean feat, the not-so-terrible trio have come up with an enjoyable, flowing album filled with synth and piano riffs that will make you sleep. Personally, though, I hated the 3-minute instrumental bridging tracks 7 & 8. Don't know what that was all about, except that you couldn't skip it, because it was part of one of the adjacent tracks (can't remember which one). Finally, the album artwork is without a doubt the greatest album art I've ever seen. Kudos.