I have listened to this album hundreds of times now and am still finding new emotional depths and nuances. If Hopes & Fears was Keane's suite of optimistic, romantic teenage bittersweet songs then Under the Iron Sea is much darker and deeper - conveying a dive under the sea in a bathyscape with its lyrics of alienation, despair, suffocation within oneself, betrayal, longing, regret. The variety of tracks is impressive, from the gorgeous, heart-wrenching Hamburg Song to the rock-out that is Is it Any Wonder? My personal favourite is Leaving So Soon? The soaring vocals are breathtaking. Tim Rice-Oxley is a master songwriter and keyboardist, and Tom Chaplin has such a pure achingly beautiful voice. In spite of all the darkness and emotional pain of the album (mirroring real life experiences), the final track suggests a re-surfacing into the world of light and laughter. Best album of 2006.
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