Having won both critical and commercial acclaim for their debut album, HOPES AND FEARS, British band Keane pushes the hook-infested keyboard-rock on their sophomore effort in a darker, moodier direction. But UNDER THE IRON SEA features an intense, romantic brand of melancholy, with the trio of Tom Chaplin, Richard Hughes, and Tim Rice-Oxley vamping their way through vaulting rock melodies and power ballads, all without the aid of a single guitar.
There are plenty of deliciously chewy guitar-like sounds, though, that Keane achieves by feeding electric pianos and synthesizers through various effects pedals and studio gear. The album begins with the gloomy pop gem "Atlantic," in which Chaplin broods over layers of swelling synths and insistent drum work before the song resolves into a clearing of pure melody. The song showcases Chaplin's soaring vocals, which are at points as tortured as Thom Yorke's and at others smoothly reminiscent of Freddie Mercury. On "Is It Any Wonder?" the verses strut along anxiously until a barely-in-control keyboard riff winds the song up into its gleeful chorus. Filled with moving, melodic rock, Keane's solid second effort points to further sonic expansions to come.
- Released: 3/16/2018
- Format: Vinyl
- Genre: Pop