Thursday, August 17, 2006

Music: Under the Iron Sea • Keane

• Keane adopts an "edgier" sound on album two.

Genres: Pop, Britpop, rock
Released: June 20, 2006
Verdict: &&&1/2

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.


Chuang Shyue Chou said...

Wow! It's been years since I touched Britpop. Back then, it was Pulp, Elastica, Space, Strangelove and more.

Jebb said...

I think these guys would be on the mellower side of most of those you mention ...

Kayleigh said...

I read an interview with Keane, and in it they said that they wanted to move on and away from their 'Hopes and Fears' sound. Also, in a different interview they said that while 'Hopes and Fears' was lighter and more cheerful, 'Under the Iron Sea' is about more darker things, and I can only imagine that they would want their sound to reflect that.