[Rating: 4 stars]
Since successfully breaking through to the mainstream with “Chasing Cars” and “Run,” alternative rock band Snow Patrol seems to have been unfairly pigeon-holed as melancholic balladeers. While many could easily write the band off as such, their latest effort, Fallen Empires includes some surprising musical twists and turns. The Northern Ireland rockers explore acquainted themes detailing the convolutions of living and loving, which are structured in highly seductive melodies.
While brooding ballads abound aplenty (“This Isn’t Everything You Are” and “Lifening” are among the best), Snow Patrol have chosen to sweeten up the mix this time out. Dense synths and metronomic dance beats thrive on “Called Out In the Dark” and the title track, which clearly demonstrate the band’s efficacious attempt at shaking up their sound.
Lead vocalist and lyricist Gary Lightbody stated this album took longer to record than any of the band’s previous records, but calls Fallen Empires their best work yet. After battling through stretches of writer’s block during the recording process, Lightbody and company manage to deliver an unyielding and substantially satisfying collection of high quality upbeat tracks and atmospheric ballads. “There’s so much this hurt can teach us both/There’s distance and there’s silence/Your words have never left me,” sings Lightbody in the ghostly “New York” (recently featured on Grey’s Anatomy), which is as strong an offering as anything in the band’s ever-growing arsenal of imposing hits.