Snow Patrol: Fallen Empires
Snow Patrol is clearly a nervous group. Not because they are not great musicians or don’t have the ability to sell out shows. They are used to that. Rather they are a nervous outfit because they are amongst the forerunners of “Soft Rock”. Along with groups like Coldplay and even The Kings of Leon they are part of a small fraternity of Rock stars that make a living of pop infused anthems. This might sound controversial but these groups have little respect or credibility within real punk rock circles. They try and legitimise themselves by playing festivals but the exuberant fees they charge tend to rinse down their supposedly indie alternative personas. These guys have graduated into the major leagues of musical stardom. They sell out entire stadiums and don’t need supporting acts.
So if we are going to critique Snow Patrol’s latest offering we must critique it with that reality in mind. Now I have to confess, I have nothing against the group. In fact Chasing cars remains tucked away in my nostalgic soft rock playlist, along with 3 doors down’s Here without you and Nickelback’s faraway.
Fallen empires is an album that sees Snow patrol return to their tried and tested sound which mixes simple catchy song writing with soft melodic nuances. Front man Gary Lightbody shows restraint on lead vocals. A kind of calculative performance that we haven’t seen from him since Final straw.
This is good music, from the onset with I’ll never let you go, you get the sense that the band is stripping down the complications that had plagued their last two offerings. They have simplified everything and are seemingly better for it. The garden rules is another one of those fuzzy sing along tunes that make you want to call your ex and confess a litany of emotions. It’s poised and does not thrive on overstatement or even metaphor but rather its lyrical simplicity leaves you with that, how dare they make this thing seem so easy.
The album’s title track is perhaps the most expressive. A mixture of damning guitar riffs and well timed drum jump offs. This is gonna be live performance gold for the band. I can just imagine scores of teens bumping with die hard soft rock fans in a packed stadium-Gyrating to the sound of Nathan Connolly and screaming “we are the light, we are the light.” Its gonna be a thing of beauty.
Another sublte track that will porobably go unoticed on the album is Berlin. I say it will go unoticed because it has no lyrics. Its seems like a rather random throw in on the album. Something about it reminded me of Celtic music. In fact rhythmatically is sounded much like Enya. But my most favourite track on the album has too be Life-ning. I have to once again confess that I have been secretly searching for a sequel to Chasing cars. A song who’s awkwardness and sense of being delayed will move me without me having to move with it. Life-ning is that song. It is carthatic and makes you feel as if time has suddenly been delayed. Its the kind of music you listen to when youa re laying up facing up at the sky and philosophising about the small things in life. Snow Patrol are back.