Under the Iron Sea

Reviewed by: Nick Southall
Reviewed on: 2006-06-13

Posted 06/13/2006 - 06:17:57 AM by James_McKean:
 Although I agree with some of what you're saying; the thing is, most of the singles from the first album had great tunes and very little else. Mr Piano player is probably one of the best melodicists around. Is It Any Wonder, however, is, melodically speaking, the weakest single they've put out. I'm quite surprised the chorus impresses you tbh. The main problem for me is that Mr Fat Singer is awful. So devoid of character and personality. So post-Yorke and post-Buckley by-numbers to be scarcely believable.
Posted 06/13/2006 - 07:44:32 AM by cleric:
 I agree with James. Especially on the first album you heard a song and liked the melody. However after the 5th time you listened to it, the songs became dull and the singer annyoing.
Posted 06/13/2006 - 08:38:39 AM by prohibitedart:
 I like this review, and I'd say you're correct by assuming that U2 are the most influential band in rock history. However, there are gradations of "influential." There's positive and negative or good and bad. Band I consider to be positive are Sonic Youth and The Velvet Underground for example. U2 are definitely bad, unfortunately. Just about every band that followed them are horrible imitators or boring musicians. Keane certainly fall into the latter category, however I consider them more to be Coldplay ripoffs than anything else. I do respect their efforts, but there's no way that I could ever take them seriously.
Posted 06/13/2006 - 08:56:20 AM by florenz6:
 o la la, this is such an interesting record! It really contains everything i don´t like about clean, polished, pseudo-pathetic albums. For therapeutic reasons, I had to put Kate Bush´s "Aerial" in my cd-player(which, by the way, I like more and more in these days , despite my critical statements in Stylus after Mr. Southall´s review.)
Posted 06/13/2006 - 10:51:20 AM by moobear:
 I don't think Talk Talk were really manipulated by their label. I think Mark Hollis always knew he wanted to make the kind of music he would go on to make on Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, but to get into a position where he could do so, he had to first make the synth-pop-type early stuff. And if that is the case it's all the more amazing that he actually executed such a plan.
Posted 06/13/2006 - 11:54:50 AM by florenz6:
 One nice thing about reviews that keep their radar wide open, is that things come into focus that are really much more important than its object of not-really-desire. So, let´s praise Talk Talk and their radical way to some peaks of modern music history. Let´s go back to Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock and Mark Hollis solo album. Even Color of Spring was a good body of work! and, ähem, i think, on a more subtile way, the Beatles remain the most influential band. Or, okay, they at least have a great impact on really good music (Sufjan Stevens, Daniel Johnston, Jon Brion, Juana Molina, Mitchell Froom, Andy Partridge, add at least 150 good-sounding names of musicians that might still have some of their salad days running!
Posted 06/13/2006 - 12:22:45 PM by vsvsvs:
 Nick Southall confuses me. He is quite right in this review, of course. But how he can say all of that and then still give Embrace, a band even worse than Keane at being weak, scared, conservative and easily-led, an A-.
Posted 06/14/2006 - 06:32:50 AM by eldarko:
 Keane? Hmmm, two words: plinko plonko
Posted 06/14/2006 - 07:48:05 AM by James_McKean:
 RE: Embrace for vsvsvs. Download the following tunes: Out Of Nothing, New Adam New Eve, Sainted, Feels Like Glue, Love Order, Hooligan, Near Life, Save Me, Now You're Nobody and Too Many Times. I'd be interested to see if your opinion changes at all.
Posted 06/14/2006 - 11:54:56 AM by vsvsvs:
 I know Embrace, thank you. I've suffered with their existance for nearly 10 years now. I wouldn't have an opinion on them if I hadn't heard their albums. They just get more bloated, pompous and self-important as they go on. At the very least Keane has stunted the constant "triumph of the human spirit" choruses.
Posted 06/14/2006 - 12:09:44 PM by James_McKean:
 Um, apart from Hooligan and possibly Feels Like GLue, none of the songs I mentioned have "triumph of the human spirit" chorus. Not even close. I do see how some of their music could be descibed as bloated (I'm not sure about pompous, I tend to think quite the opposite) and what musician isn't self-important, I don't know. Embrace can certainly be accused of being conservative and easily-led, but only with regard to the fact that their bravest music is (these days) confined almost exclusively to b sides. But if you listen to (rather than 'hear') their output as a whole (or some choice selections, as I suggested) the Keane comparison you make is frankly laughable. And moreover, if you listen carefully, even the (at times formulaic) 'anthems' that they invariably put out as singles actually have "triumph of the human spirit" choruses. In fact, there are very few artists currently making music with a similar range of moods and styles. But each to their own.
Posted 06/16/2006 - 04:33:17 AM by bj_randolph:
 Keane rots. Music for sissies. You didn't used to be such a pushover, Southall. Should've had Passantino write this one up, perhaps he would have given these simps the thrashing they so richly deserve. Dammit, Southall, you just haven't been the same since the Delgados broke up.