Keane – Under The Iron Sea Review

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The Inside Pulse:
Keane is one of those NuBrit rock bands that capitalized on the overwhelming success fellow mates Coldplay have experienced over the past six years or so. They didn’t exactly become an overnight sensation because of Coldplay, however. The guys in Keane actually grew up with Chris Martin, and the original name for the band? Coldplay. Keane gave the name to Martin when they decided it was “too depressing”. The band’s first record, Hopes and Fears, was a romantic tour de force, at least to those were were tired of Nickelback and their ilk dominating radio at the time. The album had a slew of huge singles, and the band won a few Brit awards, were nominated for a Grammy, and drew huge crowds across the world. With the much-anticipated follow-up record, the band has been promising a much more epic scope in terms of the material covered. Like everyone else in the world, Keane are tired of seeing countries ravaged by war and famine, and Under The Iron Sea would supposedly be the band’s maturation record.

The Positives:
– Keane isn’t a guitar band, but here they do their best to sound like one. Swirling synthesizers are run through various guitar effects pedals to create a tsunami of sound that has the shimmery glow of the best guitar tones The Edge has ever produced.

– It’s evident from first listen that a lot of care was put into the crafting of this record. As a fellow engineer and producer, I can certainly respect the dedication this album shows. The mix is absolutely perfect, with every instrument ringing loud and clear. When you’ve got as much going on in a mix as Keane does here, that’s a testament to the people working on the album.

The Negatives:
– The jump to a less starry-eyed and romantic method of songwriting is appreciated, but a lot of the lyrical content still seems unfocused. The first album was full of georgeous pop gems, and while Keane are singing from the mountain-tops on Under The Iron Sea, it sometimes seems like the song they’re singing is about nothing at all.

Take a melting pot. Throw in U2, Coldplay, a dash of Radiohead, and a futuristic orchestra featuring only electronic instruments…and a piano.

Reason To Buy:
This album won’t catch you upon first listen like Hopes and Fears did, but it grows better and better with every listen. If melody and beautiful, driving piano lines are your thing, then this is the record for you. A stunning sophomore record that shows plenty of room for growth on future recordings.