Snow Patrol have come a long way since their early years of sleeping on fans floors and pretending to be members of Belle and Sabastian to get into nightclubs, they’ve sold over 11 million albums world wide, had various Top 10 hits, had a number one album and have won several awards for their work, and if this album is anything, it’s a testament to just how deserving the band is of all of those accolades.
This album showcases a completely different style for the Irish/Scottish band with a more electronic vibe to it, prominent on the opening song I’ll Never Let Go, which boasts 80s synths coupled with some stabbing guitars and impressive vocals from American folk-rock artist Lissie who cameos on the track. This all goes towards making an impressive start for the album which never seems to fall in quality.
Other highlights on the album include the leading single Called Out In The Darkand its follow up This Isn’t Everything You Are. Both are completely different in style and subject but both excel in their respective directions,Calling Out In The Darkfurther explores the bands electronicdreamsand makes great use of achorus worthy of any indie dancefloor, sounding not unlike fellow scotsmen Marmaduke Duke.This Isn’t Everything You Are sounds more like a classic emotion fuelled Snow Patrol track with its dreamy guitar verses and anthemic chorus, complemented by awesome choral harmonies that Arcade Fire would be proud of.
Further proof that the band often labelled as “bland” are out to shoot down that particular critique is the albums title trackFallen Empireswhich is a fast-paced trance like track that seems to be a remixers dream. The track could easily be mistaken for a great 90s house track if it wasn’t for singer Gary Lightbodys vocals and the bands build up throughout giving an amazing sense of urgency and intensity to the listener as the song never seems to let up.
The album isn’t all fast paced and electronic though as songs like The President, the albums slow-moving, piano based closer and Lifening. a word made up by Lightbody which he explains as “to have lightning and light thrust into your life or to simply let them into your life” which is a great way to describe the songs feeling as Gary sings about the things that are “All I ever wanted from life” which include “Ireland in the world cup, either north or south”, proving that Snow Patrol can still pen great melody based tracks that can feel instantly familiar and inspirational.
If anyone ever need proof that Snow Patrol still have what it takes to be a force in the music scene both here and across the Atlantic, Fallen Empiresis it. It’s an album that is very at home amongst their best work and could very well be the album of the year.