Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Critics are already dubbing Snow Patrol the next Coldplay, who themselves were dubbed the next Radiohead. Listen to a track from each band and it’s hard to find any strong connection between the three, even if they have at some point been members of the Indie Bedwetters club (© Alan McGhee).
Snow Patrol sound and look like frail, pondering students and their single Run looks set to do for them what the brilliant if overplayed Yellow did for Coldplay. Whereas Chris Martin and his fellow UCL students were propelled to instant stardom off the back of their debut album Parachutes, listeners jumping recently onto the back of the Snow Patrol bandwagon might be surprised to learn that Final Straw is in fact their third album.
Why have they finally made the leap into the zone of mainstream awareness? Snow Patrol have slightly changed their lineup, and been plucked from small label Jeepstar and deposited into the big leagues of Polydor, who are clearly giving the band a much needed push.
Snow Patrol will never set the world alight in the same fashion as Radiohead or Coldplay, but somehow they’ve carved out some charm of their own from an already overtly saturated genre. Lead singer Gary Lightbody’s thick Irish vocals have conviction and a fine sense of delivery even if vocal ability is lacking, and his fellow bandmembers don’t seem to elevate themselves into any superior level of quality, but what makes Snow Patrol worthy of notice are the songs themselves. Final Straw has an overwhelming majority of good tracks and only a few mediocre ones.
Opening number How To Be Dead is too acoustic and fragile, complete with embarrassing sixth-form styled title, to ever warrant opening an album, particularly Final Straw, which is quite considerably more rock than plodding. Wow lives up to its title with a pounding chorus that could suit any guitar band from Doves through to Lowgold and Elbow, and Gleaming Action carries the baton wonderfully.
Spitting Games is one of the catchiest album tracks, and has a more up-tempo pace, but it’s let down by its follow-up Chocolate which slows the pace most probably in preparation for epic single Run, which although a good song, should certainly have ended proceedings as the last track on the album.
It’s an interesting tactic, throwing most of your best tracks in the first half of the album, and in Snow Patrol’s case the first half of Final Straw does enough to win over listeners. The album has disappeared off shelves for a few weeks so that it can be re-released with bonus tracks We Can Run Away Now They're All Dead And Gone and Half The Fun, presumably to bulk the album up to fifty minutes in length. Still, the record’s been interestingly produced by Garret Lee, with enough ambient and electronica events featured in the mix to maintain some interest in the performance, and as long as you don’t expect the earth, there’s no reason why Snow Patrol won’t deliver with Final Straw.