Review Summary: It's time for Snow Patrol to call it a day.
Ever since the critical and, more importantly, commercial success of their 2006 release, Eyes Open
, Snow Patrol have been floundering. A Hundred Million Suns
played around with some pretty forced experimentalism, complete with an over ambitious 16 minute outro, and side projects have fizzled into existence only to immediately fade out in their mediocrity. Regrettably, Fallen Empires
continues this trend. Whatever colour and flair there was to be found a few years ago has drained away, leaving something that, while not completely bad, is not exactly good either.
There is a prevailing feeling that Fallen Empires
, as an album, is nothing more than a marketing decision. Coined by the band as their best and most experimental album: it blends the sincere, acoustic-ballad style that prevailed on their most popular releases with a heavy pop-rock influence. Effectively, you’ll catch glimpses of Coldplay, Arcade Fire and U2. There are plenty of chorus’ full of “woh’s”, plenty more parts involving backing choirs and songs where guitars are abandoned in favour of monochromatic beats. Incredibly experimental, I’m sure…
Seldom is seen of anything that feels like Snow Patrol material, funnily enough. It’s all smothered with this desperate attempt to make themselves seem more “epic”. Beneath it, there remains very little substance: no momentary glimpse of beauty, no profound or intelligent lyrics and nothing we haven’t heard a hundred million times before. It’s uncertain whether this is a result of simply going through the motions or that they’re convinced that, in order to make a good album, you only have to copy others. In either case, it’s clear that the main problem Snow Patrol face is that they’re completely out of touch. U2 have slowly grinded to a halt and Coldplay are in the midst of changing their direction: it should be clear therefore that arena-rock doesn’t really impress anymore unless it has a new edge to it. And no, the inclusion of 2007-esc dance beats in two songs does not count.
To its credit, Fallen Empires
doesn’t contain anything completely painful (with the exception of the lyrics, which often fall far short of the mark), there are a few sparks in what’s such a lifeless collection. The President
, for instance, hails back to the days of Eyes Open
. Nevertheless, like a spark it appears bright in the gloom, but when compared to the brighter days of Snow Patrol’s less recent material it struggles to hold your attention.
Ultimately, Fallen Empires
is bland. It struggles to portray emotion yet it’s impossible to be connected through this overdramatic arena-rock template. If Snow Patrol truly consider this experimental, or indeed good, then it might be time for them to finally stop before they destroy the fond memory of one of the most popular alt-rock groups of the 2000’s.