fri 19/07/2019

CD: Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires

CD: Snow Patrol - Fallen Empires

For Scottish-Irish wimp-rockers experimental means business as usual with a side order of synth

Snow Patrol: the stadium eagle takes flight

I remain bemused when bands such as U2 or Coldplay announce they are “going experimental” and are greeted as if they might be. The correct response is: “No, you’re not, you’re as alternative as avocado in a prawn cocktail rather than lettuce.” So here we have U2 and Coldplay’s wet younger sibling supposedly stepping into the wild unknown for their sixth album. In reality this means having a tentative crack at sounding like an early Simple Minds album, albeit firmly filtered through the epic sonic template laid down by those aforementioned older brothers.

Snow Patrol’s early history is a story of slog, belief and Celtic grit, ignored for years, nurtured in the bosom of the Scottish indie scene. Their self-belief paid off. Ever since their sappy 2003 breakthrough single “Run”, they’ve joined the club, opened by Travis, of nice rock stars in sensible jumpers who look like blokes you might meet in Waitrose. Their version of edgy, then, was never going to be even as off-kilter as overrated prog-rock modernists Radiohead. In point of fact their new sonic icing consists of synthesisers that won’t offend BBC Radio 2 listeners, pulsing in the background of “The Weight of Love”, “I’ll Never Let Go” and the title track, alongside the occasional moment that could be mistaken for French shoe-gaze popster M83.

Beneath these trimmings, it’s business as usual, with singer Gary Lightbody adopting his usual man-bravely-facing-meltdown vocal persona, falsetto voice-breaking tics present and correct. His band summon the requisite and occasionally almost martial backing that builds and builds in a way that will slay stadiums and, likely, next year’s festival season. One of the best moments is a two-minute sketch called “Berlin” that sounds oddly Chistmassy, as if Phil Spector were writing the climactic music to a Hollywood spectacular.

Snow Patrol fans will undoubtedly embrace Fallen Empires, as it expands what the band do without doing anything very new. The terrifying truth is that it’s probably their best work.

Watch the video for "This Isn't Everything You Are"

In point of fact their new sonic icing consists of synthesisers that won’t offend BBC Radio 2 listeners

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Editor Rating: 
2
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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Comments

Damn! They did it again! Beautiful song, clip, album and album cover! Love them! <3

Coldplay I'll give you, but U2 actually does have a history of experimenting so your comment is narrow-minded. Songs throughout their career, much of The Unforgettable Fire, and the entirety of the Zooropa, Passengers and Million Dollar Hotel soundtrack albums. A lot of the time on other songs it's still within listener-friendly song formats, but the mainstream tried to copy U2 rather than the other way around.

The 'terrifying truth' is that Mike's right. Next to this dirge (I just watched the video clip provided) U2 are (well, were) quite the experimenters - at least they were up to and including The Unforgettable Fire (and The Joshua Tree remains a classic album - there's no escaping that fact, as much as we might want to). Beyond those albums, any innovation and experimentation with U2 came from their engineers, producers and other collaborators -certainly not the band themselves (who were too busy living the life of middle aged millionaires with families, and getting hired by PR companies to associate themselves with corrupt and unpopular western political leaders). Snow Patrol are truly evil and the fact they are viewed as acceptable (even 'desirable' by some) is a sign that civilisation is in a state of profound crisis. An evil band is not one that dresses in leather, sings about worshipping Satan, has an inverted crucifix onstage, plays thrash guitars and has semi pornographic album covers. An evil band is one that implies authentic emotion, artistry, soul, stirring music.... when delivering nothing of the sort. Snow Patrol's music consists of a series cues for its demoralised, culturally starved, dead eyed, thoroughly mainstreamed audience to respond to, like dogs to Pavlov's bell. This bit of the song is quiet and sparse and therefore introspective ..... this bit is getting louder therefore implying some stirring emotion rising up..... here's a bunch of contrived images with a sepia effect applied to make you think they are ever-so-poignant, instead of a load of naff nonsense made by some director who normally makes car adverts for a living. Like so many bans today, Snow Patrol don't make music, they make 'content'. 'Content' is the Devil's music! Snow Patrol (a rock band you say?) would work perfectly in a BBC ident - that's how you know they are evil. Put the CD down, close the iTunes store window, walk slowly out of the room and lock the door. Splash some water on your face, go for a walk, do something this weekend that you've never seen depicted in an advert, or a music video. You're better than this. We all are.

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