Wildness

Snow Patrol

Republic, 2018

http://www.snowpatrol.com/

REVIEW BY: Pete Crigler

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/06/2018

Wow! It’s been a while since we’ve heard from these guys. Asides from a greatest hits and one song on the Divergent soundtrack, it’s been almost eight years since the band’s last record. Since then, frontman Gary Lightbody has made some good music with Tired Pony, written with Taylor Swift, and beaten writer’s block. Guitarist Johnny McDaid split from Courtney Cox and is now a hit songwriter, having collaborated with Pink! and Ed Sheeran. The band has also ditched their longtime keyboardist and moved away from the dance-pop sound heard on “Called Out In The Dark” and back to something a little closer to home. “Don’t Give In” is an earnest ballad that’s already picked up a lot of radio play but doesn’t rise above its melodicism to do anything. “Life On Earth” is a different thing altogether. A bit indie rock, a bit of balladry, the song is kin to “Run” or something a bit more vaguely alternative that Snow Patrol fans have liked for quite a while.nbtc__dv_250

“Empress” sounds like a leftover from Eyes Open updated for a new generation; it’s a really good track worthy of repeats. “Heal Me” has some weaker lyrics and isn’t one of the strongest tracks here. Likewise “A Darker Switch” starts off with a hip-hop beat and leaves the listener scratching their head as they hear the strings. I was left wondering what the everloving hell was going on here. I don’t know, but whatever it is, it ain’t working!

“Soon” is another slow burner, yet it’s good. The band has almost moved on from the dance sounds and moved more towards atmospheric singer/songwriter types of tracks. It’s like James Taylor of the ‘70s meets synthesizers and angst. “What If This Is All the Love You Ever Get?” is a straight-up piano ballad that is strangely beautiful. I can’t really explain it, but it’s something about Lightbody’s lyrics that just move me and make me think about things around me. This is definitely a striking song that I wasn’t expecting; it’s good to see that straightforward singer/songwriter types haven’t completely been erased from the musical stratosphere.

Looking over this record, it’s really a mixed bag. Some songs are outstandingly good and make you remember why you liked Snow Patrol in the first place, while others leave you scratching your head and wondering where were they going with a song like this. Still, this release is a welcome return for a band that decided to almost go back to their classic sound.

Rating: B

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