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.