Keane
Under The Iron Sea


3.5
great

Review

by Isola USER (17 Reviews)
November 14th, 2006 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The experimental new sound on the hard second album definitely works to some extent for the piano pop/rock indie trio. Although not as strong as their debut, "Hopes & Fears" it still shows Keane is going in the right direction.

Under The Iron Sea by Keane

Keane has always been a fascinating band for me, no one seems to know what genre to place them in and almost everybody got an opinion about them, either they’re brilliant or they’re awful. Is it because they got a falsetto-singing front-man who looks like he’s in the ninth grade" Or the lack of guitars" I do not know, but at least I’m going to try to explain my opinions about their newest work, “Under The Iron Sea”, released on the 12th of June on the historical indie label Island.

Line-up for this album is as follows:
Tom Chaplin – Vocals, Piano
Tim Rice-Oxley – Piano, Vocals
Richard Hughes - Percussion

While Keane’s debut, “Hopes and Fears” was kind of light, soft, acoustic sounding and easy listened to then “Under The Iron Sea” is the opposite and this is noticed very early. In fact in the intro for the first song, “Atlantic”. A dark sounding piano opens up and is followed by drums beating and some string arrangement. It has a very atmospheric sound, which I think an album such as this should have. Sadly, the lyrics and Chaplin’s singing isn’t top notch, resulting only in a decent song. After this follows the first single and the only song on the album with guitar sounding effects, “Is It Any Wonder"”. It is very rough sounding and is by far Keane’s most rocking track up to this date. Tom Chaplin’s singing as well as Hughes’ drumming works really well with this new approach and overall it’s one of the strongest tracks on this album. Third single, “Nothing In My Way” is a lot calmer but still got a quick pace. Although a good song, it feels somewhat repetive after a few listens.

The middle part of the record is the weakest link on this album, songs like “A Bad Dream”, “Hamburg Song” and “Put It Behind You” are mostly just repeating bad choruses and some occasional good verses. The only song worth mentioning is “Leaving So Soon” which although starts bad with “ahhh-ahh’s” turns out to be a pretty good tune and a favourite of mine. Chaplin gets a chance to really prove his worth on this track and for the first time gets to use his famous falsetto-singing which he handles exceptionally well. The instrumental “The Iron Sea” is a nice addition to the album and the dark sound really can be heard here. It also works as the opener for their live shows. Following is “Crystal Ball”, second single and clearly the strongest one of the record. It’s upbeat and stands out from the original “Keane”-sound. It got some difficult lyrics which can be heard from Tom’s singing but overall he makes a good job. Next is the piano-ballad “Try Again” which takes a few listens to get into but once you do it’s a good slow emotional song. Very nice instrumental parts and Chaplin’s vocals are flawless. Ending the album is two different songs, “Broken Toy” and “The Frog Prince”. The first one mentioned got sort of a jazzy feeling around it which makes it rather interesting, great vocals and great instrumentals.

The ending song named “The Frog Prince” written in 2004 is said to be written about a conversation Tim and Tom had during a drunken state, talking about someone in another band. They felt this person was a very talented songwriter and being very intelligent but now had turned into an arrogant rock star. The names speculated about was, to name a few: Noel Gallagher, Alex Turner, James Blunt, Morrisey and Chris Martin. NME later wrote an article about the subject, claiming this person to be Johnny Borrell of Razorlight. This is said to have been confirmed by Tim Rice-Oxley in a Keane newsletter. Personally, I think this is the strongest track on the record and the real gem. The song is written sort of like a fairytale (as the name suggests) and it’s very well written. The instruments are all splendid and Chaplin’s singing is the best on the record so far, a great way to end an album.

Overall, it’s a solid album but not nearly as good as their debut “Hopes and Fears”. The change of sound was interesting and made them produce some really good songs and some mediocre ones. While “Hopes and Fears” was more even and alike-sounding the tracks from “Under The Iron Sea” varies much more in sound, that being good or bad I’ll leave for you to decide.

Recommended tracks:
Is It Any Wonder"
Crystal Ball
Try Again
The Frog Prince

3.5/5



Recent reviews by this author
Whiskeytown Stranger's AlmanacFoo Fighters One by One
The Killers Hot FussKent Du & Jag Doden
Goo Goo Dolls GutterflowerKeane Hopes & Fears
user ratings (406)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
SowingSeason STAFF (4)
Keane’s sophomore effort is one that will not soon be forgotten...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Isola
November 14th 2006


421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks!

Yes, I would, even though I think the singles off "Hopes And Fears" are weaker than the singles off this one. Overall "Hopes and Fears" have better songs, recommened ones are:

"Bend and Break", "We Might As Well Be Strangers", "Your Eyes Open", "Sunshine" and "Bedshaped", they all are very much alike, but I don't find that disturbing, they are so good.This Message Edited On 11.14.06

Two-Headed Boy
November 14th 2006


4527 Comments


I'm not crazy about Is It Any Wonder, nor am I crazy about your recomendations, but it was a great review.

The Jungler
November 14th 2006


4826 Comments


Is It Any Wonder is awesome.

Patrick
November 14th 2006


1891 Comments


Great review. Is It Any Wonder is spiffy.

Generic Joshman
November 14th 2006


40 Comments


I also agree with everyone that Is it any wonder is a pretty decent song. Thought "The Frog Prince" was a pile of human feces though. Sweet review none the less!

jason_f90
November 20th 2006


203 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They're a bit too poppy for my liking however I like "Is It Any Wonder?" and "Nothing In My Way".

emerson2
February 1st 2007


31 Comments


Is it just me or does Hamburg Song start off almost exactly like Motion Picture Soundtrack by Radiohead?

Isola
February 9th 2007


421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Interesting point, I will check that out.

Isola
March 8th 2007


421 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok, I'll agree. The intros are VERY similiar.

AtavanHalen
September 18th 2007


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This was my album of 2007. Pure awesomeness.

DBRuss2777
February 6th 2008


30 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I just watched "Later with Jools holland"and they performed I actulley dident mind them. I'm going to download the songs that the review recommended. any other ones you guys recommend?This Message Edited On 02.06.08

dreamtheater911
April 11th 2008


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i love the band and the album, would they ever come to aus for a concert

AtavanHalen
April 12th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Doubt it- they don't have a very big fanbase here.

ianjulian
July 2nd 2009


642 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

beatiful

cirq
July 2nd 2009


9349 Comments


i prefer hopes & fears

AtavanHalen
July 2nd 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Doubt it- they don't have a very big fanbase here.


Saw earlier this year and they were fantastic!!

cirq
July 2nd 2009


9349 Comments


i cant believe that its been a year between comments

AtavanHalen
July 2nd 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Crazy, huh!

robin
Emeritus
March 13th 2010


4542 Comments


fuck yeah, keane

SowingSeason
Moderator
March 13th 2010


29159 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

album/band owns

Digging: Mree - The Middle



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy