"Under The Iron Sea" was recorded at The Magic Shop in Soho, New York, and back at Helioscentric Studios, near Battle. In making this record we tried to confront all our worst fears, to ruthlessly scrutinise ourselves, ou... more »r relationship with each other, with other people, and with the world at large, and to make a journey into the darkest places we could find. It made for an incredibly intense atmosphere during the writing and recording of the album, and the resultant songs and sounds very much reflect that. In the songs we created a kind of sinister fairytale-world-gone-wrong, a feeling of confusion and numbness represented by a dark place under an impenetrable iron sea. To express all this we created entirely new sounds by putting an old electric piano and various analogue synths through many different combinations of vintage guitar effects pedals, creating soundscapes that range from the percussive to vast oppressive walls of distortion. We were writing, singing and performing with a drive, intensity and fury that is almost unrecognisable from our previous music. It was important that this album had a strong visual presence too, and the start of that was the collaboration with Irvine Welsh on ¡®Atlantic¡¯ offered somebody who both inspired us, and found his own inspiration in our music. His resulting film echoes the importance of that visual identity we strove for. We wrote Under The Iron Sea because we needed a record that was going to make us feel alive again.« less
"Under The Iron Sea" was recorded at The Magic Shop in Soho, New York, and back at Helioscentric Studios, near Battle. In making this record we tried to confront all our worst fears, to ruthlessly scrutinise ourselves, our relationship with each other, with other people, and with the world at large, and to make a journey into the darkest places we could find. It made for an incredibly intense atmosphere during the writing and recording of the album, and the resultant songs and sounds very much reflect that. In the songs we created a kind of sinister fairytale-world-gone-wrong, a feeling of confusion and numbness represented by a dark place under an impenetrable iron sea. To express all this we created entirely new sounds by putting an old electric piano and various analogue synths through many different combinations of vintage guitar effects pedals, creating soundscapes that range from the percussive to vast oppressive walls of distortion. We were writing, singing and performing with a drive, intensity and fury that is almost unrecognisable from our previous music. It was important that this album had a strong visual presence too, and the start of that was the collaboration with Irvine Welsh on ¡®Atlantic¡¯ offered somebody who both inspired us, and found his own inspiration in our music. His resulting film echoes the importance of that visual identity we strove for. We wrote Under The Iron Sea because we needed a record that was going to make us feel alive again.
Sarahbeth C. (buttercrumpets) from APOLLO, PA Reviewed on 12/5/2012...
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
L. Maggy S. (Maggy) from LYON MOUNTAIN, NY Reviewed on 9/29/2010...
It's a keeper!
Karlen C. (meg) from SALINA, KS Reviewed on 8/29/2009...
Under The Iron Sea is deep, edgy, and creative. Keane, who always seems to make good on a fresh sound with each new album, has once again achieved a masterpiece with intense lyrics strung along beautiful melodies.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Keane's fairytale return isn't Grimm
Amanda Richards | Georgetown, Guyana | 06/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Keane?s first album ?Hopes and Fears? went eight times platinum in the UK and scored gold in the USA, thanks to huge hit ballads like ?Everybody?s Changing?, ?Somewhere Only We Know? and ?Bend and Break?. This follow up album changes the formula completely, and although a great effort musically and lyrically, it doesn?t have a similar number of radio-friendly pop songs like its predecessor. If this will affect sales will soon be known, but fans of the group will continue to be impressed by their sheer musical genius, the songs this time being heavily infused with electronica for a darker sound than ever before. Sounding more like Enigma in places, with large spoonfuls of U2 and Queen thrown in for good measure, this album isn?t as instantly likeable like the first, but grows on you after a few repeats.
First single and lead off track ?Atlantic? has an incredible drum effect running through it and some terrific lyrics ? ?And if I need anything at all / I need a place that's hidden in the deep / Where lonely angels sing you to your sleep / Though all the world is broken?
Second single and track ?Is It Any Wonder? is the song most likely to succeed on radio, especially with its political theme, commenting on the contributions of the British to the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Pet Shop Boys also have a similar (but more irreverently outspoken) track on their album ?Fundamental?, and The Dixie Chicks take on the matter is also well known.
The best track on the album in my opinion is ?Nothing In My Way?, a ballad inspired by Eminem?s ?Lose Yourself? and composed by Tim Rice-Oxley, the band?s piano man. This track sounds most like the Keane of ?Hopes and Fears? vintage, and is the one I?ve been repeat playing. Another wicked ballad is ?Leaving So Soon?? which is followed by ?A Bad Dream? another war themed track, this time based on a poem by W. B. Yeats. ?Hamburg Song? is a rather long acoustic track, and then comes ?Put It Behind You? a straight up rock track just for fun.
The group describes their album as ?a sinister fairytale-world-gone-wrong? and this theme comes through clearly on the creepy instrumental ?Under the Iron Sea? which sounds like a funeral song from a fantasy movie. Not one of my favorite tracks, I?m afraid, but would fit in very nicely in a ?Lord of the Rings? type soundtrack.
Another future single is ?Crystal Ball? the track which gives us the album title and a very catchy chorus, and this takes us to the last three very long tracks ?Try Again?, ?Broken Toy? and ?The Frog Prince? these three accounting for almost 15 minutes of the album. The first two are for relaxing only, but the last track wakes you up gently for the grand finale.
This album may not beat the commercial success of the debut album, but the excellent and innovative music, crisp clear vocals and intelligent lyrics make it a stand-out anyway. Rated: 4.5 stars
Amanda Richards, June 20, 2006 "
Keane return with their exceptional new album, Under the Iro
A. G. Corwin | 06/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Simple, energetic, and sonically impressive, Under the Iron Sea is the kind of album that hearkens back to an era where music wasn't about pretentiousness and style or about making money with a relentlessly commercial sound. Keane goes the opposite direction, making the album they wanted to make, full of elegantly simple but incredibly engaging songs and delivering a record better than 95% of the fluff on the market today. Simply stated, this is one for heavy rotation.
Keane's contemporary influences can be clearly heard on this record, with shades of U2, Radiohead, Manic Street Preachers, and Ben Folds Five heard on various tracks. While paying homage to those influences, Keane still manages to create a sound that is all their own. Tom Chaplin's vocals are emotional and ethereal, blending perfectly with Tim Rice-Oxley's elegant piano, and Rich Hughes does a fine job anchoring the tracks with his steady drumming. From the opening track Atlantic's potent piano melodies, which defies the traditional verse-chorus-verse song structure, to the energetic tracks Is It Any Wonder and Nothing In My Way, the record flows with an exciting and uplifting energy that has already made it #1 on the British album charts.
Crystal Ball with its beautiful chorus is probably the best track on the record, while A Bad Dream and Try Again are the kind of hopeful and anthemic songs Coldplay would kill to write themselves and that flow gorgeously. The album as a whole is a sonic gem, with layers of instruments that embellish and accentuate the simplicity of Chaplin's vocals and Rice-Exley's melodies. This record is light years better than anything U2 or Coldplay has done in recent years. Although some feel this album is darker thematically than Hopes and Fears, I find it exactly the opposite. Though containing lyrics of loss, loneliness and longing, these tracks are surrounded by beautiful and uplifting melodies. Under the Iron Sea is a less commercial album than Hopes and Fears; the tracks are more intricate and deeper on this record, and therefore it takes a bit longer to appreciate. After 2 weeks on heavy rotation, the depth of the CD continues to amaze.
Co-produced with Hopes and Fears' Andy Green, Under the Iron Sea demolishes the commonly held belief in the sophomore slump. This is the kind of album most bands wish they could deliver, full of fresh, intriguing, and resonating songs that stand up to multiple playings. On their website, Keane remarks they needed to make a record that was going to make them feel alive again. With Under the Iron Sea, Keane has made a record that makes us feel alive again. Brilliant work, and hands down one of the Top 5 records of the Year. Highly recommended.
A.G. Corwin St Louis, MO"
Should you buy this CD?: A Review of UNDER THE IRON SEA
Liam F. | Melbourne, VIC Australia | 06/26/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Keane's HOPES AND FEARS won the Best British Album at the Brits, and got them attention even in the US when they got nominated for Grammy's Best New Artist (not an easy feat for a British band). It isn't easy at all to follow up such massive success. And here coems Keane's sophomore effort - UNDER THE IRON SEA. But does it match up to HOPES AND FEARS? If you went head over heels for HOPES AND FEARS, then chances are you had been waiting impatiently for the release of this one and would have the CD spinning right now. What if you do not own HOPES AND FEARS, or did not like it (which I find a little shocking)?
UTIS is essentially a rock record, leaning towards alternative. The CD opens with "Atlantic", which features a killer beat (albeit sinister sounding) that sets the tone for the rest of the CD. About 2 minutes and a bit more into this song, the melody completely takes on a new route, switching from melancholic and dangerous to almost angelic and peaceful. This, in my opinion, is sheer brilliance. We could go deeper by trying to analyze what message Keane is giving (a light among darkness?) but that's better left aside for now.
First single "Is It Any Wonder?" comes next. Once again, great beats - and no - THAT is NOT guitar; it is 'distorted piano' - a completely new sound that Keane has invented. This song is ferocoius, it rages forward like a full-speed train - and that's good. We have not heard anything like this from Keane before, and I'm glad they are not sticking to ONE formula (the one that worked in HOPES AND FEARS).
One of my favourite songs on the CD, "Nothing In My Way" is very poetic, and the "addictivity level" is at its peak when the song breaks into the chorus. You'll find yourself chanting along to it in no time at all. I'm also very keen on "A Bad Dream", catchy chorus, good beats and all. I believe the song that most are crazy about is "Crystal Ball" and I'm not surprised at all. This was the first song that jumped out at me and grabbed my attention on first listen - and I still like it. Very singable, very likeable - think "This Is The Last Time" and "Bend And Break" from HOPES AND FEARS. Nevertheless, Keane has not completely abandoned its piano stylings on this record - "Hamburg Song" features complete piano without frills. Peaceful and mystifying.
Having said all that, occassionally I do miss tracks like "Bedshaped" from HOPES AND FEARS. It's not completely absent on UTIS, but very little traces of such songs are to be found. Based on this, UTIS is a solid record and a great listen, but it does not evoke the general feel and melancholy of HOPES AND FEARS. Rather, UTIS ends up sounding rather urgent, as if it were a message of warning, and is undeniably much darker than HOPES AND FEARS. You can tell that Keane have had no desire to match HOPES AND FEARS at all, but rather let their creativity and surroundings take them to a place where genuine music and lyrics are born. UTIS is a remarkably excellent effort. And did I mention the great artwork for the cover? (The cover actually folds out into different layers of what lies UNDER THE IRON SEA - very clever, in my opinion).
The verdict? You should buy UTIS. Great melodies, thoughtful lyrics, crisp voice, immaculate production. It's one of the best CDs to hit the shelves this year.
Liam F. 26 June 2006"
Under the Iron Sea is Golden
N. Foley | Indianapolis, IN USA | 05/22/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am not a fan of Keane. In fact, I hated their first album and did not notice when the second album released. However, after hearing "Is It Any Wonder?" on the radio (about 200 times) I thought I would check it out. The sound seemed to have more edge; it captured more of a rock feel, and I liked that. Not to mention, I don't know who can't relate to the lyrics of "Is It Any Wonder?" these days.
I ordered the album and when it came I popped it into my stereo and sat down. I listened to the whole CD. Then I listened to it again. I was dazzled by the intersecting rhythm lines, key changes, the poor lyric scansion that seems to rhyme even though it shouldn't, and the tenor of Tom Chaplain's voice. This album has depth. It encompasses a sound that has been established by the Beatles and has evolved up through bands like Cold Play and Radio Head; Yet it has a little irreverence, giving it a feeling of angst that makes it more interesting to listen to. It's industrial enough to sit in the "Rock" section of your local record store, yet it's still technically a "Pop" album.
I highly recommend this album. It truly is a fresh sound and feel. It will appeal to rock folks, as well as pop people. If I were on the panel for album of the year I certainly would've voted for this one!"
Powerful, Driving and Melodic!
Richard K. Kostoff | columbus, oh | 07/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is easily my favorite disc of the year, possibly the decade! I am an "old school" listener who prefers everything from Britain that has been recorded and exported in the past 40 years. Keane released this brilliant album that very well may take its place at the top of the pile of my stack. I simply have not stopped playing it!
English bands seemed to have lost track of making good music. Not so, with Keane. "Iron Sea" surpised me on many levels. First of all, follow up albums usually fall short of the debuts. This moves far ahead of the first. "Iron Sea" is both solid and deep. (No pun intended!) Fantasy images are used liberally, Crystal Ball is my favorite. Frog princes and ogres make appearances.
Every track is memorable. Grammys take note, here is your album of the year. Tom Chaplins vocals soar! It is hard to believe that musically this is a trio. No Guitars. It is skilled beyond my ears to hear this. This album great on many levels! The last track sums it up as fairy tales do come true. This is music for the Harry Potter generation and beyond!!!"