Snow Patrol
Fallen Empires


1.5
very poor

Review

by Axel USER (6 Reviews)
January 12th, 2012 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: This isn't everything they are

As a crappy album, Fallen Empires hurts all the more because it actually manages to hurt loyal ol' me, and a few Irish people, as a fan of Snow Patrol. Last time I listened to their discography the anthemic-ballad machine of a band never did that before. Ever.

Last outing A Hundred Million Suns was kinda experimental and a little odd and whimsical, sure. But it was still Snow Patrol through and through, and many fans even like it now after its initial mixed reception: “Crack the Shutters”, “If There's a Rocket Tie Me to It”, and “The Planets Bend Between Us” (single remix, mind you) were all the same sound of the band that gave us and our then-sweethearts at the time the stellar commercial success that was 2006's Eyes Open.

Which was itself an album that took traces of Snow Patrol's blast-for-the-bleachers hit “Run” and more or less just re-wrote that formula eleven times over. But what a formula that was: replay-ably fresh and sincere. Eyes Open was nothing short of being the balls of a sensitive man getting laid for the second, or first, time: hmm, cozy.

Do you know what you get with Fallen Empires, though? A laughable attempt at a shameless radio-staple band trying to be the next Arcade Fire. And failing miserably, too. Early proclamations from the band said this thing would run with such legendary albums like U2's Actung Baby, LCD Soundsystem's Sound of Silver, and, what do you know, Arcade Fire's The Suburbs. Just read what frontman Gary Lightbody said about it himself: “Arcade Fire's last record (The Suburbs) made us realise that we had to up our game. . . . We decided that we wanted to make a record unlike any other we've made before.”

Though Lightbody's true intentions for Snow Patrol prove false, incredibly false, he is right about one thing: Fallen Empires is unlike any album that the band has made before. This is almost as concise and as quality of a listen as you might get from Emmure or brokeNCYDE. Almost. We get a messy glob of shameful assenting female vocals with Lightbody's own Irish croon (“I'll Never Let Go” and “Weight of Love”), and we even get Sufjan Steven half-ass instrumental jibes back when the eccentric songwriting gave a care about The States (“Berlin”). But where are the melodies, though?

Nowhere, because it's just offense after offense for this thing all the way through. Elsewhere, in first single “Called Out in the Dark” we find a rock-ish band tinkering with electronics, but coming out of that venture with embarrassing results that happen to be the opposite of what Radiohead got twelve years ago. “The Garden Rules” prides itself on being an indicator of just how boring the band can be and how Lightbody should never tell listeners stories about his past. And “The President” screams itself silly with acoustics and piano as being no more than a copied remake of “The Planets Bend Between Us” (first edition, from the band's 2008 outing).

Speaking of which, copying has always been one of Snow Patrol's strengths; you know, with Eyes Open being “Run” remixed, A Hundred Million Suns having contained a few remixes of that prior album, yada yada yada, like I said earlier. A sad strength, but it's a strength nonetheless. The one time Snow Patrol get the copying thing right here, though, is in second single “This Isn't Everything You Are”. Lightbody swings for the fences, and Snow Patrol actually do the only thing they can actually do well: make fucking sensitive anthems.

They try the same in the pleadingly sick and saccharine “New York”, a ballad of an Irish guy serenading a love that's an ocean away, and the retrospective take “Lifening”. Lightbody's singing, “This is all I ever wanted from life,” in the latter becomes unbearable funny and is hard to take seriously as it's from a song on Snow Patrol's worst album since having become relevant (to me and Grey's Anatomy, that is).

Fallen Empires fails the critics, again, fails the naysayers, again, and actually fails the fans. Which amounts to it being a wondering failure of a mess, the sum of its parts playing out like an hour-plus extended edition of the “lol”-worthy “The Symphony”. Dub-y beats, horns, cringe-y melodies and harmonies, electronics, and just all around awful songs – night-time dramas are going to have one hell of a time bringing us to tears with this shit in the coming year. For fans, though, the tears are bound to start falling. Fallen Empires, indeed.



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user ratings (90)
Chart.
2.7
average
other reviews of this album
Irving Tan STAFF (2.5)
On their first recording since the million-selling 2009 collection Up To Now, Snow Patrol sound lead...

CasualListen (3)
"Fallen Empires" is Snow Patrol's softest album to date, but it is also a fresh and relaxing experie...

Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (2)
It's time for Snow Patrol to call it a day....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Axel
January 11th 2012


189 Comments


Out yesterday in US

The label flubbed on promoting the only good song here.

Apollo
January 12th 2012


10365 Comments


this sounds like Chevelle....how exactly?

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2012


31493 Comments


As a crappy album,


Jared, is this really the best way to start a review?

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

bloc
January 12th 2012


35010 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I remember enjoying the lead single when it was released but when I finally heard it along with the album it was crap.

Digging: The Birthday Massacre - Superstition

Tyrael
January 12th 2012


20946 Comments


meh, band has always sucked balls

Digging: Azealia Banks - Broke With Expensive Taste

Axel
January 12th 2012


189 Comments


Deviant, I can't gauge how well to use formality and sputnik, so I just went with it.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 12th 2012


10198 Comments


album fucking sucks

Axel
January 12th 2012


189 Comments


I read your thoughts on Eyes Open from a couple years back, and I actually like that album even more now because of it.

Horsehammer
January 12th 2012


550 Comments


ive no interest in these guys in general, this album or any other

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
January 12th 2012


28789 Comments


wow brutal reactions

im pretty curious

iFghtffyrdmns
January 12th 2012


7047 Comments


As a crappy album...

but tell us how you really feel

Axel
January 12th 2012


189 Comments


crappy



Titan50
January 12th 2012


4588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol i like this

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
January 12th 2012


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

The few 5's make me kind of worried.

00mee
January 12th 2012


213 Comments


Did you find it hard to write this?

Just asking because I'm trying to write a negative review as well, and finding it extremely difficult. Sorta in the aspect of not having it as a massive rant but more an informative review.

Axel
January 13th 2012


189 Comments


Yeah, especially 'poor'-rating reviews can turn into large rants, which I have a tendency to do. But hey, it's fun to write those.

As far as advice for negative reviews go, read those from Deviant, Adam Knott, Adam Downer, Gyromania's Nickelback one, and loads more. Check the Staff & Contributors tab below and pick reviews from there.

00mee
January 15th 2012


213 Comments


cheers, finished the review, reading staff negative ones really helped hey.

plus that nickelback one takes the cake for best neg review haha

fulgrim
January 15th 2012


1542 Comments


always thought this band was a bit boring.



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