Album: Keane: Under The Iron Sea|
Street Date: June 20, 2006
Reviewed by: Kevin
I've never been an "automatic" fan of Keane's work. When they first debuted on radio in 2004 with "Somewhere Only We Know" I wasn't overly impressed and didn't give them a whole lot of thought. It wasn't until sometime later when a musician I respect recommended the song "She Has No Time" from that album Hopes And Fears. I listened to that song, and still wasn't completely won over. But after a few months, it grew on me.
In June of this year Keane released their sophomore effort Under The Iron Sea, again there was critical acclaim, but I was not entirely sold on this album. But I did not give up on it either. I listened to it more and more and before I knew it, I actually was quite hooked on Keane as a whole. It's easy for people to dismiss music quite easily, but sometimes you can surprise yourself if you give an album time to grow on you.
1. Atlantic - The album opens with a music heavy track that builds up anticipation. It has the sound that we are used to so it makes a good transition into the new material.
2. Is It Any Wonder? - I think half the reason it took me so long to get into this album was because this song was released as the first single. This song is drastically different than any other song in the Keane catalog. It's about one step below a full on rock song and a far cry from the mellow tracks we are used to from Keane.
3. Nothing In My Way - A song lyrically skeptical of someone that seems happy on the outside. "For a lonely soul you're having such a nice time"
4. Leaving So Soon? - Not quite as uptempo as "Is It Any Wonder" but still manages to break the previous Keane mold.
5. A Bad Dream - This is where Keane gets back to the style they do best. The production is done so perfectly on this song, it almost feels like you are waking up from a dream by listening to it.
6. Hamburg Song - You get the feeling like he is really trying to say something in this song. In some ways I can almost see it as a continuation of "She Has No Time" because it's the same struggle to shine a light on each other's life, finding the reciprocated love.
7. Put It Behind You - "Time goes by at such a pace, it's funny how it's easy to forget her face." It's a bit of an uptempo song but I really love it. It's all about moving on from her. He knows it's not easy: "Hit you like a bullet in the gut" but you know it's a necessity. "Time will pass you by. You better put it behind you now."
Between tracks is a musical interlude filled with beautiful yet haunting guitar distortion. The entire piece is 3 minutes long, but it's incredible on every level. It leads right into the next song...
8. Crystal Ball - I can see this as being a future single. Lyrically there isn't much to read into although this song has the lyric "Under the iron sea" from which the album received it's name.
9. Try Again - A pretty mellow track in the typical Keane style. "I'm not a stone, I'm just a man."
10. Broken Toy - Lyrically this is a song about growing older, and a relationship breaking down when life inevitably changes. Musically, after an intro that can not be put into words, the rest of the song has an almost jazz feel to it until the final bridge when the layers get much more complex once again.
11. The Frog Prince - A fairy tale made into a song. An interesting way to wrap up the album.
Overall, this is an amazing followup to Keane's first album Hopes And Fears. However I would dare to call that album flawless, this album is great, but still lacks the power behind the first. It comes very close with songs like "Hamburg Song" & "Crystal Ball". Do not judge the album based on the first single "Is It Any Wonder" and you might just be impressed with what you hear.
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