Under the Iron Sea
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Their critically acclaimed debut LP 'Hopes and Fears' took the band from childhood friends to one of the most iconic and reputable acts from the UK. In keeping with the deft beauty of their trademark melodies, Keane have written a second album that mines from the depths a mesmerizing and grittier dynamic. Keane have returned with an album that boasts a bolder, smoldering and more intense sound but which retains the classic song-writing of "Hopes and Fears."
If U2 hadn't already released a pair of career retrospective discs, this British trio's second album would neatly do the trick in one. Not much of a surprise since Keane spent a good deal of time supporting Bono and company following the release their breakthrough debut, Hopes and Fears. From the melancholic "Crystal Ball" to the sinisterly beautiful "Is It Any Wonder?" (a blatant homage to "Zoo Station"), Keane have perfected their forebear's dark stadium-rock formula on their second album, all the more miraculous considering it was once again done without guitars. If Under the Iron Sea sounds considerably edgier than its predecessor, that's because it was recorded while the band was on the verge of splitting. But the friction has also given Keane a renewed sense of purpose, breaking the mid-tempo monotony with vibrant material such as "Nothing in My Way" and "Try Again": soaring songs that make the band sound unsinkable. --Aidin Vaziri
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Top Customer Reviews
Frankly, yes. Their second album "Under the Iron Sea" is every bit as atmospheric and beautiful as its predecessor, with a heavier emphasis on electronics as well as the previous drums and piano. The "sinister fairytale-world-gone-wrong" description fits it well.
You'll be drawn in by "Atlantic," which is the perfect intro to their music -- dark, sweeping and fluid, just like the iron sea of the album's title. Tom Chaplin's soaring voice sings of loneliness, and a longing for love and comfort: "I need a place/That's hidden in the deep/Where lonely angels sing you to your sleep/The modern world is broken... A lover's lap where I can lay my head..."
They switch tempos for the uptempo, ominous "Is It Any Wonder," before slipping comfortably into something in between. It's full of swaying balladry that's just catchy enough to be radioready, claustrophobic piano pop, and exquisite soundscapes that just brim over with loneliness.
The second half makes things even darker, with low-key songs that sound lonely, and sinister-sounding rock songs. The title track is an exquisite piece of shivery, soaring soundscapes backed by soaring voices, and ending with a ghostly cry. They should have stuck that li'l gem on the end, just to make people feel haunted.
You don't see many artists getting LESS commercial as time goes on, but that is the case with Keane. While "Hopes and Fears" was a song about straightforward lovelornity, this is a darker, more brooding album. Like a "sinister fairytale," it sounds dark, complex and beautiful.Read more ›
Come on people, quit fussing over trivialities and pointless comparisons. Resist the perverse need to pigeon-hole. Truth is, Keane shares both an atmospheric pop sound and a uniformly serious tone with the likes of U2, Radiohead and Coldplay, but having said that, so what?
Listen to the absolute crap that is shoved at the "kid demographic" and therefore dominates cd sales and ends up on the charts - then listen to the artists who are making great pop and rock music these days. Isn't it enough that Keane is out there doing their thing?
Their first record is great, and this one is very good, and still growing on me.
All in, I'm glad Keane's around - I love their sound. If it also feels good to you to listen to Keane, then do that. Support and enjoy true talent wherever you find it - it is and always has been a rare thing in any endeavor.
First single and lead off track “Atlantic” has an incredible drum effect running through it and some terrific lyrics – “And if I need anything at all / I need a place that's hidden in the deep / Where lonely angels sing you to your sleep / Though all the world is broken”
Second single and track “Is It Any Wonder” is the song most likely to succeed on radio, especially with its political theme, commenting on the contributions of the British to the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pet Shop Boys also have a similar (but more irreverently outspoken) track on their album “Fundamental”, and The Dixie Chicks take on the matter is also well known.
The best track on the album in my opinion is “Nothing In My Way”, a ballad inspired by Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and composed by Tim Rice-Oxley, the band’s piano man.Read more ›
After hearing Keane play a track on this album on Jay Leno I eagerly went to buy Iron Sea.
I have to say, I am dissappointed. Though this album is good, the previous is great. This album had a few good tracks, but I am not playing it from beginning to end, and it's already "sitting somewhere" on my CD rack.
The previous album had a different sound, theme, emotions for each track and it really showed their depth as artists. I felt this album, they just released while they were still "hot" or had enough money thrown at them by their record company to make a follow-up...not bad, but not spectacular.
But this album if you are a hardcore fan, or else just buy your favourite individual tracks.
Most recent customer reviews
fast fast fast fast are the best words for this ordered on day here the next and in perfect shape thanj youPublished on March 23 2013 by catjan
Keane puts together nice melodies with interesting, and sometimes moving, arrangements... This disc again demonstrates these strengths, but unfortunately their weaknesses remain... Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2007 by B. Keith
This CD on first lisen is disapointing, however I have played it many times and the whole CD grows on you. Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2006 by Richard M. Gelder