Everyone remembers the song, “Run,” which made Snow Patrol into the phenomenon they are now. Since that album, “Final Straw,” we now reach them at their current point, “Fallen Empires,” the bands sixth album. There are a few difference in this album especially with collaborations from people such as Troy Van Leeuwne from, “Queens of the Stone Age,” Owen Pallett, and Lissie Maurus on vocals. With this new album they are testing out a new sound that is not traditional Snow Patrol with the use of more machines and a heavier synth based rhythm.
This album is not a completely new direction for the band. We have seen other already popular bands try out one or two songs with a new beat or direction while still maintaining their composure and solidarity. Snow Patrol follows this scheme having only, “Called Out In the Dark,” and, “Fallen Empires,” being the heavy beat driven songs of the album. Though there are more, these are the pulsating dance tracks of the album which show the new light of the band.
“Called Out In the Dark,” is the first track in the album where we hear the shift in what used to be the norm for the band. The synth is heavy and plays a great part during the climax of the song. It sounds like it is heavily influenced from older synth based tracks like, “New Order,” but still keeping true to the bands persona. This is also heard in, “Fallen Empires,” which first sound a bit folk and then turns louder and louder subtly maintaining a moderate build. The synth adds a depth to the song that has not been heard before but still keeps the “Snow Patrol,” sound while being a dance track.
There are still the famous ballads that we know the band for such as, “Those Distant Bells.” The way that the vocals are set up is the traditional sounds we have heard, but that does not mean that there is a lack of resonance with the song. This time we hear Lissie Maurus sing along with lead singer Gary Lightbody in unison during this track which is similar to a less powerful rendition of, “Set the Fire to the Third Bar.” We do not have the force that previous duo songs have because the premise of the album is that of being less of a dark and gritty.
New band member, Johnny McDaid (Piano) wrote, “New York,” with Gary Lightbody which sounds like a standard Snow Patrol song but reflects what the band does so perfectly. The simple lyrics and intricate mix of the lyrics with the instruments demonstrate that the band does not need to change much to create a masterpiece. The build is strong with accompanying powerful vocals to end the song with a profound depth and emersion.
We see a less melancholy based lyrical structure to their songs. We are used to the depressing and agonizing lyrics from songs like, “Run,” and “Chasing Cars,” but now reach a point where the upbeat songs reflect a more optimistic subject matter. The album is uplifting but still has its dark renditions. This is not a departure but more of a test to other sounds giving hints in which direction they will lean towards in the future. We have a glimpse to what the band will release next when Gary Lightbody told billboard.com, “Broken Bottles from a Star’ is a prelude, as it says on the album. . . it’s gonna be the first song on the next album.”