Keane has been around for a few years, and they have not broken it big in the United States yet. I have no doubt that they will when copies of “Under The Iron Sea” start flooding the United States market. The sweeping electronic atmosphere that is first present during “Atlantic” fit the title sea well. There is a compelling pop-rock set of vocals on the track, but what really cinches the deal for Keane at this moment has to be the intelligent instrumentation that is so prevalent. It only takes a few minutes, but Keane go into their first single “Is It Any Wonder?”.
During this track, the band’s instrumentation is again important, but the vocals are front and center here. The chorus is something that while vocal has a lot of instrumental ties. While “Is It Any Wonder?” may have been the first single that was cut in the United Kingdom, “Nothing In My Way” is a superior track in all aspects. The build up of the chorus and then restarting of the track by Keane here is beautiful; the band really are masters of their own destiny. During the follow-up track to “Nothing In My Way” (“Leaving So Soon?”), the vocals are a blend of Radiohead and Rufus Wainwright. The instrumentation on this track takes a back seat, but is still very important in regard to crafting a specific sound for this track.
Keane makes an album that does not have ties to any specific genre or land; the rock that is contained inside is equally fitting across both sides of the pond. For example, “A Bad Dream” touches on the sound of Coldplay, even if the arrangements during this track are a little less sloppy than anything that Coldplay cut. The very Spartan arrangements during “Hamburg Song” allow the lead vocalist to really show eir skills. This is perhaps the most interesting track on “Under The Iron Sea” due to the fact that it is so radically different from anything else on the disc. It is a refresher and energizes listeners for the next half of the disc; it is what Keane should do during the disc. Keane are not afraid to break out of their little box, and they hope that American audiences can do the same thing. Let’s hope that they can.
Top Tracks: Hamburg Song, Nothing In My Way
Keane – Under The Iron Sea / 2006 Interscope / 11 Tracks / http://www.keanemusic.com / http://www.interscope.com / Reviewed 14 August 2006