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Sneak Peek: Keane "Under The Iron Sea"


When I spoke with singer Tom Chaplin of Keane last week, he insisted that the group's hectic lifestyle of the last two years has not changed the band's outlook on their music. But after relentless touring, a headlining gig at Live8 in 2005 and worldwide fame, it is pretty obvious that the band has lived and learned, which is expressed on their much-anticipated new record "Under The Iron Sea." Musically and lyrically, this new album is a lot bleaker than their previous CD "Hopes & Fears" as Keane tries to wrap their hands around the challenging times we live in. "This is by no means a positive album," Chaplin added. "Under The Iron Sea" will be available in stores on June 12th.  You can view the entire track listing of the record here.

Interestingly, Keane is able to convey their angst and concerns without the use of any single guitar. Instead, keyboard player and muscial mastermind Tim Rice-Oxley experimented with new and vintage synths that he collected while touring.

"Under The Iron Sea" kicks off with the angsty "Atlantic" that will be released as a digital video single in May. "Though the world is broken, I need a place to make my bed," sings Chaplin, capturing the darker overall theme of the record. The album picks up steam on the catchy "Is It Any Wonder?" that shows how Rice-Oxley has skillfully used synths to mimic a guitar-infused arena sound that still sounds distinctly Keane.

After this amped-up tune, the album ventures into more familiar Keane territory with the splendid melodies ("Nothing In My Way," "Put It Behind You"), a tear-jerking ballad ("Hamburg Song") and Chaplin's gifted choir boy vocals ("A Bad Dream"). In fact, oftentimes Chaplin's crooning is reminiscent of a young Freddie Mercury and even Rufus Wainwright, especially on "Leaving So Soon."

The album's title track is a crunchy instrumental composition that features haunting, electronic synths that reveal the dark sonic backdrop for the record. It is like the group scratches off some of the musical veneer to show how they really feel.

But after almost two minutes they put the gloss back on with the poppy "Crystal Ball," which serves up a glimmer of optimism in its sing-along chorus. "Lines ever more unclear. I'm fading out. Everything I know is wrong," sings Chaplin. "Crystal ball, crystal ball save us all. Tell me life is beautiful."

Another stand out song is the final track "The Frog Prince" that sounds like a lullaby for adults. Chaplin explained that song has no political undertones but is in fact a song about the trappings of fame and success. "Your prince's crown cracks and falls down. You castle hollow and cold. You wondered so far from the person you are." The song is a fitting finale to an excellent new album by the group of three childhood friends who have managed to remain down to earth while making great music.

More of my interview with Tom Chaplin on a newsstand near soon soon. I will keep you posted.

April 19, 2006 in Sneak Peek | Permalink


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I'm elated that Keane is releasing a new album. They're simply amazing live (saw them last fall) and I remember Chaplin talking about the forthcoming album then. I'll keep an eye out for your review.

Posted by: Mercury at Apr 19, 2006 5:47:20 AM

hello arjan....
i'd be elated....elation....to hear some musical interactivity....far too much carpal tunnel. elated....elation.

(ed. note: je pense que j'ai oublie tout les choses francais pendant cette experience.) il fait chaud, il fait froid....j'ai pas.

Posted by: ricardo at Apr 19, 2006 2:30:02 PM

I have never been more excited to hear this album then RIGHT NOW. I am especially looking forward to "The Frog Prince". The last songs on albums are always the very best.

Posted by: Amanda at Apr 20, 2006 2:42:07 PM

I am really looking forward to this album, especially now I've heard 'Is It Any Wonder?'. It really is fantastic and it's great to see a band really moving on and noticably developing their sound.

I'm also really glad they've kept 'Hamburg Song'. I adored it when they played it live back in late 2004 and was so afraid it'd be 'lost' as a b-side. :)

Posted by: Hannah at Apr 23, 2006 5:50:52 AM

Awesome. I cannot wait.

Posted by: Jeannette at Apr 25, 2006 10:28:16 AM

I only can join the majority. I'm loking forward to this album more than to any other album before. It`s the first time I accompany a band which have a hugh meaning for me.
I'm so glad, that they make a visit to germany in berlin on 17th of may.

bye tristan

Posted by: Tristan at Apr 28, 2006 12:22:54 PM

cant wait for the album, i've heard 'atlantic' and 'is it any wonder'and both are amazing. will it beat the last album 'hopes and fears' though because, in my opinion, that was one of the best albums ever created. from a british band anyway...

Posted by: paul tipping at Apr 29, 2006 5:38:34 AM

OMG!! I am so excited along with my brother for this album to be released...here in the USA we have to wait til the 20th, but better late than never, and for KEANE I would wait forever!! I loved them live both times i saw them here in the US and I cant wait to see them again and hear all their new stuff!!

Posted by: Alex at May 9, 2006 8:43:37 AM

KEANE es simplemente la mejor banda que he escuchado en mi vida, su música es mágia, en sus conciertos tanto te llega la voz del hermosisimo Tom Chaplin que es inexplicable lo que se siente

Posted by: Melisa at May 20, 2006 12:19:04 PM

well guys i have heard under the iron sea !! and wow ur in for a treat !! my fav track has to be a bad dream !!

Posted by: thekeanesoilder at May 30, 2006 9:17:14 AM

Just stumbled upon this blog...a big Keane fan here. Also, anticipating the new CD, UTIS. Keane are great in concert, saw them in the H&F tour - lots of energy.
So far, I've heard, Atlantic, Is it any wonder, and Crystal Ball from Barnes&Noble.com (free listen)...I think I'm liking the ethereal Atlantic a lot more than the other two "poppy" songs. I did hear Hamburg song" & "Try again", "Nothing in your way" from last year in concert & those are lovely. And, just hearing a few seconds of The Frog Prince & Leaving So Soon? makes me feel these songs are gonna be great.
Tom has one of the very best voices out there today - emotional, passionate, other-worldly. And, a Great Band.

Posted by: t. at Jun 7, 2006 2:40:53 PM

I just love keane.. 'try again' is really a great number to listen to.. i'm from the netherlands and UTIS is coming in stores tomorrow =D Nothing in my way is a great song too... most of the songs are so diffrent than the songs on 'Hopes & Fears'.
But I love them anyway.. they were on pinkpop 5th june and 26th may there were in Paradiso, but I went to neither of them...tommorow is giong to be a great day.. I know it!

Posted by: Sarai at Jun 8, 2006 6:08:35 AM

Sounds like this will be a great album, I liked Hopes and Fears but it seemed like it was a little lacking somehow... Hopefully this darker tinge to this new album produces a much more definite sound that will blow me away with it's overwhelming scape of awsomenesses. I already like the little that I've heard from it more than the content that the last album produced.

Posted by: Mickey C at Jun 9, 2006 7:00:48 AM

Hey..i've just bought my tickets to Keane at Bangkok this August..
Question : does anybody knoe what's the lineup like ? what songs will they be playing ? I really hope they play songs from H&F...I’ve been searching through the internet, but can’t seem to find anything…help…!!

Posted by: Orissus at Jul 18, 2006 9:07:08 PM

Keane .....it's very beatiful,emotional ,touches soul and gives her power to fly ,what can i say ,it always reminds me (especially 'Somewhere Only We Know') my motherland Ancient Caucasus Albania ....forests ,mountains and cold fresh weather
Wonderful rock ,in my opinion Keane is the best example for modern britpop ,it fills me and give me a second breath .....and i hope that oneday Keane will give concerts in Azerbaijan........

Posted by: Nariman at Aug 20, 2006 8:22:43 PM

Keane .....it's very beatiful,emotional ,touches soul and gives her power to fly ,what can i say ,it always reminds me (especially 'Somewhere Only We Know') my motherland Ancient Caucasus Albania ....forests ,mountains and cold fresh weather
Wonderful rock ,in my opinion Keane is the best example for modern britpop ,it fills me and give me a second breath .....and i hope that oneday Keane will give concerts in Azerbaijan........

Posted by: Nariman at Aug 20, 2006 8:24:31 PM

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