"Fallen Empires" proves Snow Patrol has real potential
Snow Patrol has seemingly always been on the cusp of greatness. From album to album, they have improved in their songwriting talent as well as in their musicianship. However, the U2-esque greatness they have desired has always been just beyond their grasp. Their latest attempt is “Fallen Empires,” the follow up to 2008’s “A Hundred Million Suns.”
Creative new tracks
“Fallen Empires” begins with a song in classic Snow Patrol style, with the addition of New Wave inspired beats in the background. Gary Lightbody’s vocals are great on “I’ll Never Let Go” and the instrumentation is better than ever. This is perhaps the most well written song Snow Patrol has ever completed, with the addition of several backing vocalists as well as synths and guitars in perfect harmony.
The next track, “Called Out in the Dark,” is similar to the first in that it is a classic sounding Snow Patrol song with the addition of electronica. Unfortunately, while the first track, “I’ll Never Let You Go,” did this in a creative way that benefited the song musically. “Called Out in the Dark” comes off as cheesy, and as an attempt to tap into “what the kids are listening to.”
The record gets back on track with “The Weight of Love,” Snow Patrol’s most U2-esque moment yet. From here on out, Snow Patrol provides their fans with some of the most innovative songs they’ve ever written. The electronic elements the album began with are moved to the background to support the guitars and drums. The title track is the most musically advantageous song the band has ever released. This song forgoes cliché song structures in favor of one fluid driving song that crescendos into an explosion of sound that then recedes to one note of a violin. This track is a true representation of just what Snow Patrol is capable of doing.
Utilizing the piano
“New York” stands out as the best piano ballad the band has ever done, including powerful lyrics such as “If our hearts are never broken / then there’s no joy in the mending.” In an interview with Spin magazine, Lightbody admitted he had never felt too comfortable around the piano, but this song proves that while his piano tracks may not be the most complex, they have a beautiful simplicity about them that works perfectly. This is shown again in the closing track “The President.”
Snow Patrol may not be a band on the level of U2 as they have always said they desired, but this record is a beautiful example of just what they are capable of doing. This album shows that Snow Patrol has the ability to someday reach the point of U2. Lightbody’s lyrics and vocals are better than ever in “Fallen Empires” and while Snow Patrol could have gone the safe route that so many bands like them have and release a pop dance record, they took risks and those risks paid off. This album contains the most musically adventurous songs they have written to date, proving that they aren’t just another pop rock band. Snow Patrol has the potential to not just be a good rock band, but to be a great band.