Under the Iron Sea

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Under the Iron Sea
Keane Iron Sea.jpg
Studio album by Keane
Released 12 June 2006
Recorded 2005–06
Length 50:30
Label Island
  • Andy Green
  • Keane
Keane chronology
Live Recordings 2004
Under the Iron Sea
Live 06
Alternative cover
Cover for release with UK bonus DVD
Singles from Under the Iron Sea
  1. "Atlantic"
    Released: 24 April 2006
  2. "Is It Any Wonder?"
    Released: 29 May 2006
  3. "Crystal Ball"
    Released: 21 August 2006
  4. "Nothing in My Way"
    Released: 30 October 2006
  5. "A Bad Dream"
    Released: 22 January 2007
  6. "Try Again"
    Released: 9 February 2007

Under the Iron Sea is the second studio album by English rock band Keane, released in 2006. During its first week on sale in the UK, the album went to #1, selling 222,297 copies according to figures from the Official Chart Company. In the United States, the album came in at #4 on the Billboard 200, selling 75,000 units in its first week.[1] Since 22 January 2006 the album had sold over 3,000,000 copies worldwide.[2]

The band describes Under the Iron Sea as a progression from Hopes and Fears with electronic influences, describing the record as a "sinister fairytale-world-gone-wrong".[3]


After the release of their debut album, Hopes and Fears, Keane embarked upon a world tour that reached virtually all Europe and North America and which culminated in October 2005. As seen on Strangers, the band had been having trouble since the middle of 2004, shortly after the release of the debut. The suggestion "Hamburg Song" is about the bad-turned relationship between singer Tom Chaplin and pianist Tim Rice-Oxley – composed circa August 2004 – develops the focus of the conflict. During the tour, Rice-Oxley kept composing new songs that would later appear in future releases such as B-sides "Let It Slide" and "Thin Air". According to Chaplin, Rice-Oxley had composed at least 50 new tracks as of April 2006.

The name of the album is based on a lyric appearing on the track, "Crystal Ball" which reads "I've lost my heart, I buried it too deep, under the Iron Sea". It also shares title with the eighth track and Keane's first instrumental, "The Iron Sea". The "Iron Sea" is the metaphoric name for the group's (especially Rice-Oxley's) preoccupations about their uncertain future and the sudden fame they were having.

The album's title was announced by a handwritten note, signed by the entire band, reading:

"Nothing in My Way" (previously known as "Nothing in Your Way"), "Try Again" and "Hamburg Song" debuted between late 2004 and 2005 during the Hopes and Fears Tour. The two latter songs made their first appearance on Strangers, still on demo version while the first only appeared until the album's release. The three first singles, "Atlantic", "Is It Any Wonder?" and "Crystal Ball", were premiered at a secret gig in London on 5 April.

Notable changes from the previous releases by Keane during the Hopes and Fears era are the typeface and style of the cover art. Sanna Annukka, an artist from Brighton, designed the cover art for all Keane releases since March 2006, when this album's cover art was developed (on 14 March). The typeface also changed from the "Cochin" typeface used on the 2004 and 2005 releases. The newer font was specially designed for Keane (but no specific name was given apart from the "UTIS" fan-name).


The first pre-release before the album was "Atlantic", which was issued as a download-only music video single on 25 April, featuring a specially extended version of the song incorporating the outro from album track "The Iron Sea". Irvine Welsh, author of the novel Trainspotting, directed the video, which was filmed in black and white on a remote Sussex beach, and did not feature the band. "Is It Any Wonder?" followed as the first single proper, out 29 May. Its video was directed by Kevin Godley, best known for his work on music videos for The Police and Duran Duran in the mid-1980s.

The record was released 12 June 2006 internationally. However, the album was accidentally put on sale for a few hours on 2 June 2006 by Apple Computer's Belgian iTunes Music Store, and while this was widely publicised as a leak of the album, no one on the band's messageboard was able to buy it in this time frame. A US edition of the album eventually leaked in its entirety to file-sharing networks on 5 June 2006, and the Mexican edition was released early on 9 June.

There was also a bonus DVD with a book-shaped cover representing a fairy-tale story, with drawings on the inner pages.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (63/100)[4]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[5]
Entertainment Weekly A−[6]
The A.V. Club B−[7]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[8]
Slant Magazine 3.5/5 stars[9]
Sputnikmusic 4/5 stars[10]
Q 4/5 stars[8]
Pitchfork Media (4.1/10)[11]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[12]
Billboard (Positive)[11]

Under the Iron Sea received generally favourable reviews from critics. Review aggregating website Metacritic reports a normalised score of 63/100, based on 24 reviews, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.[13]

Considered a victim of the loudness war, Stylus Magazine included the album on their 2006 list of the "Top Ten Worst Sounding Records, 1997–present", referring to its compressed production, describing it as "one of the loudest, most sonically obnoxious records [the journalist] ever had the displeasure to hear" and "the best example of a bad, no, a disgusting sounding record."[14]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Tim Rice-Oxley, Tom Chaplin and Richard Hughes

No. Title Length
1. "Atlantic"   4:13
2. "Is It Any Wonder?"   3:06
3. "Nothing in My Way"   4:00
4. "Leaving So Soon?"   3:59
5. "A Bad Dream"   5:06
6. "Hamburg Song"   4:37
7. "Put It Behind You"   3:36
8. "The Iron Sea"   2:57
9. "Crystal Ball"   3:53
10. "Try Again"   4:27
11. "Broken Toy"   6:07
12. "The Frog Prince"   4:22
13. "Let It Slide" (Japanese bonus track) 4:12

The US version combines "Put It Behind You" and "The Iron Sea" into one track, 6:33 in length.



Chart (2006) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[15] 16
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[16] 4
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[17] 3
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[18] 4
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[19] 7
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[20] 5
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[21] 1
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[22] 8
French Albums (SNEP)[23] 8
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[24] 3
Greek International Albums (IFPI) 1
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ) 21
Irish Albums (IRMA)[25] 1
Italian Albums (FIMI)[26] 10
Mexican Albums (Top 100 Mexico)[27] 65
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[28] 5
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[29] 3
Portuguese Albums (AFP)[30] 3
Polish Albums (ZPAV) 69
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[31] 3
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[32] 4
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[33] 2
UK Albums (OCC)[34] 1
US Billboard 200[35] 4


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom 900,000+ 3× Platinum
Ireland 10,000 Platinum
The Netherlands 35,000 Gold
Switzerland 15,000 Gold
Argentina 20,000 Gold
Portugal 20,000+ Platinum
Spain 40,000+ Gold
United States 392,000[36] N/A
France 65,100 N/A
Italy 20,000 N/A

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Catalog no.
Worldwide 12 June 2006 Island Records B000FBHT1C

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Kenny Chesney Scores Fifth Chart-Topping Album". Billboard.com. 22 October 2008.
  2. ^ "Keane buoy album sales". Music Week. 19 June 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  3. ^ "MySpace: Keane". Retrieved September 2006.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ "Under The Iron Sea Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  5. ^ MacKenzie Wilson (20 June 2006). "Under the Iron Sea – Keane". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  6. ^ Sinclair, Tom (19 June 2006). "Under the Iron Sea Review | Music Reviews and News". EW.com. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  7. ^ Murray, Noel (21 June 2006). "Keane: Under The Iron Sea | Music | Music Review". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  8. ^ a b "Keane – Under The Iron Sea CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 20 June 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  9. ^ "Keane: Under The Iron Sea | Music Review". Slant Magazine. 19 June 2006. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  10. ^ "Keane – Under The Iron Sea (staff review)". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  11. ^ a b [1] Archived 21 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (9 June 2006). "Keane, Under the Iron Sea". The Guardian. London. 
  13. ^ "Critic Reviews for Under The Iron Sea". Metacritic. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  14. ^ "Top Ten Worst Sounding Records, 1997-Present - Staff Top 10". Stylus Magazine. Retrieved 2016-06-23. 
  15. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Keane – Under the Iron Sea" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Ultratop.be – Keane – Under the Iron Sea" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Ultratop.be – Keane – Under the Iron Sea" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Keane – Chart history" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Keane. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  20. ^ "Danishcharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  21. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Keane – Under the Iron Sea" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  22. ^ "Keane: Under the Iron Sea" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  24. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Keane – Under the Iron Sea" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  25. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 24, 2006". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  26. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  27. ^ "Mexicancharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  28. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  29. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  30. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  31. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  32. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  33. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Keane – Under the Iron Sea". Hung Medien. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  34. ^ "Keane | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  35. ^ "Keane – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Keane. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  36. ^ Ayers, Michael. "Keane Boarding the Night Train This May". billboard.com. 26 February 2010.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Smile... It Confuses People by Sandi Thom
UK number-one album
18 June 2006 – 1 July 2006
Succeeded by
Liberation Transmission by Lostprophets