Music News


Nearly every critique of Keane's new album, Under the Iron Sea, sports comparisons to the same two or three earnest, melodic, big-selling Euro-bands. In many respects, the ubiquity of these references signifies a failure of imagination on the part of the music-reviewing community (big, fat surprise). Nevertheless, a listen to the disc demonstrates how difficult it is to talk about these guys without stressing their inspirations -- and that, in turn, underscores their limitations. The hit single "Is It Any Wonder?" sounds pleasurable thanks to Tim Rice-Oxley's emotive keys, Tom Chaplin's man-the-barricades belting, Richard Hughes's steady beat and Andy Green's ultra-sleek production. But as effective as the tune is, it's still more suggestive of previous rock throne-bearers than it is of Keane. That won't matter to most of the folks checking out this gig, which co-stars Donovan Frankenreiter and Feist, and given the high caliber of "Leaving So Soon?" and other derivatives sure to be on display, they may have a point. But Keane won't truly deserve enshrinement alongside its influences until it stops sounding so damn much like them.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts