Under the Iron Sea

Under the Iron Sea

It’s hard to fathom that Keane is a guitar-less trio. Their drums-bass-keyboards approach is so ornate, lush, and atmospheric that their every tune turns into a pocket symphony rife with melodrama. That they could approach this grand mastery without the usual six-string culprit is a singular achievement. This East Sussex, UK trio have never met a special effect they couldn’t twist to their advantage and their second studio album, Under the Iron Sea, utilizes their sonic expertise to massive effect. In the tradition of early Radiohead (before they became an art project), Coldplay, and U2 (for whom they opened on tour), Keane combine this profound love for ambient atmospherics with song emphasizing fancy melodies that push singer Tom Chaplin’s voice all over the scale. The unexpected success of their debut album – two Brit awards, a Grammy nomination, actual record sales – stressed the band to the near breaking-up point and that tension, along with a deteriorating world situation, fuels the melancholic strains of “Leaving So Soon?,” “A Bad Dream” and “Hamburg Song.”

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