• Keane adopts an "edgier" sound on album two.
Genres: Pop, Britpop, rock
Released: June 20, 2006
Much of the press surrounding Keane's new album has focused on the band's creation of guitar sounds this time without actually using guitars. I'm not sure exactly what Keane hoped to gain from this, because if it sounds like guitar rock, that's how people are going to react to it. The tone is set from the opening guitar peals of track two, the maybe radio-friendly "Is It Any Wonder," which would not sound out of place on a U2 album. What does this mean for fans like me, who were attracted by the piano-driven melodies of great songs such as "Everybody's Changing" and "Somewhere Only We Know" on their debut? The good news is the guitar sounds aren't likely to spoil Under the Iron Sea for those fans, but it comes with a tinge of disappointment if your ears crave a worthy sequel to Hopes and Fears. More or less absent altogether this time is the gentle, soothing, nearly hypnotic quality of some of that album's highlights, such as "Untitled 1" and "Sunshine," although "Broken Toy" is a noble attempt. Their knack for a hummable melody still permeates, and a hint of the electronic occasionally accents tracks like "A Bad Dream." By the time the shuffling "Broken Toy" gives way to the closing pop rocker, "The Frog Prince," reservations about Keane's new "edgy" sound are likely to drift out to sea.