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Friday, July 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 63.0° F  Overcast
Music

THE BIN

Keane
Under the Iron Sea (Universal)


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Keane seem intent on staking out the genre currently associated with Coldplay. It's a brand of mixed-tempo ethereal rock built on melodrama. Every few songs find a dance-friendly beat, and a radio hit is born.

On Under the Iron Sea, Keane's melodrama frequently turns schmaltzy. The opening track, "Atlantic," is waterlogged with Tom Chaplin falsettos. It rides an orchestral wave before crashing on a beach littered with these trite lyrics: "I don't want to be old and sleep alone/an empty house is not a home." The dance beat emerges by the second track - the hit single "Is It Any Wonder?" That song reveals itself as a verse-chorus-verse standard (also translated as quiet-loud-quiet).

By the fourth track, Keane are rollicking through a tension-filled, slowly building emotional landscape and standing squarely in the shadow of Coldplay. (It all really goes back to U2's The Joshua Tree, right?) Too bad Keane doesn't show enough originality to make it succeed.

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