Review: Snow Patrol — 'Fallen Empires'
Snow Patrol’s sixth album, Fallen Empires, delivers what most fans have come to expect over the years.
It’s not the sort of leap a band like Coldplay would attempt; instead, it's a subtle tweak to their style with hopes of introducing something slightly new.
Singer Gary Lightbody and gang appear to be inspired by U2 and R.E.M. throughout. But the difference between being inspired by and actually matching those aspirations is large. “I’ll Never Let Go” is a non-offensive song that doesn’t shake up the world or push the band further. And “Called Out In The Dark” is destined for doctors’ offices everywhere.
“The Weight of Love” sounds epic without really being so. Snow Patrol seems to lack the soulfulness of U2, but this seems to be part and parcel with their careers. They have done an exceptional job of being just above ordinary. “Lifening” shows that Lightbody is no John Lennon. He sings about what he wants out of life, and that includes a World Cup for Ireland. It’s not a bad song, but it grows old rapidly.
Then you start to feel like Snow Patrol coming through that bland rock cloud when you hear a track like “This Isn’t Everything You Are.” And then amazingly the second half of the album comes to life with songs like “Fallen Empires,” “New York” and “The Symphony.”
“New York” is an unexpectedly good track for its placement on the album. It seems to be inspired by R.E.M. circa Automatic For The People. It’s a shame Lightbody didn’t have more songs like this to sprinkle throughout the album. Finally, “The Symphony” makes you wonder why it is relegated to the end of the album. It’s a beautiful song.
The songs, for the most part, are nice and sweet. But nothing jumps out as great, and that has plagued them. You never walk away singing the song and carrying a melody around in your head for the entire day. There are 14 songs on Fallen Empire, and if they had only left four or five behind, this might have been worthy of a much higher score, but in the end it's about grading what you’ve got, and there is just too much filler.
Snow Patrol is missing something. That feeling has always been there about the band, regardless of the album. What it is, well, that's hard to put your finger on. Is it the big hook? Is it the powerful vocal? Is it multiple things? I’m not sure, but something is missing. Something isn’t there and that has kept Snow Patrol from becoming a great band.
“This Isn’t Everything You Are”, “Fallen Empires,” “The Symphony,” “New York”
"Those Distant Bells," "In The End"
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