Under The Iron Sea Review

artist: Keane date: 04/04/2007 category: compact discs
Keane: Under The Iron Sea
Release Date: Jun 20, 2006
Label: Interscope
Genres: Alternative Pop/Rock, Britpop
Number Of Tracks: 11
Keane should be applauded for going after a different sound; there's no harm in that, but die-hard fans might rush to judge Under The Iron Sea as sounding a bit too much like U2.
 Sound: 8.3
 Lyrics: 7
 Overall Impression: 8
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reviews (3) 16 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7
Under The Iron Sea Reviewed by: anthonyd3ca, on july 06, 2006
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Under The Iron Sea is a melodic and moody release that continues in the spirit of its predecessor. Keane is unique in that the piano, not the guitar, is the band's primary mode of rocking. Singer Tom Chaplin's clean vocals bring to mind other Brit rockers, most notably Manic Street Preachers' James Dean Bradfield, especially on "Put It Behind You". "A Bad Dream," "Crystal Ball," "Nothing in My Way" and "Broken Toy" also all possess Keane's solemn sound. // 7

Lyrics: Instead of writing about esoteric topics like labor negotiators from the '30s, Chaplin sticks to more standard pop themes, from love lost and found, to self-realization, and, of course, war and peace. Chaplin can deliver a self-effacing line like "I guess I'm a toy that's just broken/I guess we're just over now," because he is so unapologetically sincere. Elsewhere, "Is It Any Wonder" comes off as "Achtung Baby"-era U2, with its cranking opening guitar riff and stadium-ready groove. Not surprisingly, then, the album's thought-provoking lyrics and anthems recall another piano-driven outfit influenced by U2: Coldplay, a band with whom Keane is regularly compared. // 7

Overall Impression: Despite their keyboard-centric approach, there isn't anything especially distinct about Keane's sound, except that the group writes smarter-than-average catchy pop songs. Whether these tracks stand up to the test of time isn't necessarily the group's concern. They're out to write good songs, and with "Under The Iron Sea," this overachieving three-piece has done just that. // 7

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overall: 8.3
Under The Iron Sea Reviewed by: Arekelyan, on august 24, 2006
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 10

Lyrics: 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. // 7

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 8
Under The Iron Sea Reviewed by: FratelliFan, on april 04, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 7

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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