June 22, 2006

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Keane, Under the Iron Sea
Interscope Records, 2006

Seriously man, there’s an angel and devil yelling things from the shoulders of Keane frontman Tom Chaplin. “Radioheadness shalt make thee relevant!” the angel hollers over the clinking of the devil’s cash registers, ringing 20 percent off if you buy any U2 album along with Under the Iron Sea or wear a Coldplay t-shirt to the checkout counter. No monumental loss to either camp — certainly their debut album Hopes and Fears gave some modicum of meaning to the lives of Chris Martin followers who couldn’t bear another minute without X & Y (Chaplin’s voice magpies Martin for sure, although the Gene Loves Jezebel-like ballad “Try Again” trolls out his inner Freddy Mercury), and there was that nervous Yo La Tengo/whatever angle as antidote to all the Edge-guitar-mimicking piano, but the sophomore jinx rarely manifests itself as furiously as it does here. If there were any doubts left in your mind that the world’s gone stark raving consumerbot after the STP-bootlicking success of Creed (an old bone, but it needs regular picking), just watch as hordes of art-challenged iPodders smugly add this corporate swindle to the other three or four kegger-alt albums that got their attention during Pimp My Ride commercial breaks. C

— Eric Saeger


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