Snow Patrol are a name many know, but many also consider to be a thing of the past. Really hitting their stride in the mid-2000s, they released the quality duo Final Straw, and Eyes Open, the latter of which spawned their greatest ever hit, ‘Chasing Cars’- I doubt there are are many of you who haven’t heard that one. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there- the band seemingly disappeared after 2012’s disappointing Fallen Empires– and a few public appearances were all the fans had to go on for a very long time.
Fortunately this wasn’t the end for the band. This album was originally meant to come out in 2016, but after a bout of writer’s block, singer Gary Lightbody delayed the album until this year. And so here we are- this album promises a change in sound- but will it be one for the better?
That’s impossible to say after a few listens to this album. The songs, at their core, are still the Snow Patrol we know and love, but their sound has transformed around them. Gone is the indie-rock of Final Straw, and even the upbeat poppy sounds of Fallen Empires. Instead we have, well… something different, that’s for sure. You can still hear the band’s indie roots, but they are buried among an occasionally rich network of more electronic sounds- shown perfectly on the fantastic ‘A Youth Written In Fire’.
You’ll probably think from what I’ve written so far that I’m not a fan of this album, but that actually couldn’t be further from the truth. I think this album is great- and the best thing the band have done in quite a while- I’m just struggling for words to describe it. The album travels from slow ballads like ‘Soon’, and ‘What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?’, to more upbeat stuff, like the rhythmic guitar strumming of ‘Don’t Give In’ and the electronic influences in ‘Wild Horses’.
Snow Patrol have evolved, that’s for sure. I don’t know whether this is a better sound or not, but I know that it’s more mature, and better thought out to fit within the modern music landscape. But whatever I think, and whatever you think, it’s hard to deny that the change is for the better- Snow Patrol still have it, and they’re not stopping yet.
Best songs: Don’t Give In, A Youth Written In Fire, Wild Horses