Snow Patrol
Wildness


3.0
good


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: “I think the finish line's a good place we could start”

There’s no real reason to expect anything out of a new Snow Patrol album in 2018. Hell, there’s no real reason in the first place to expect anything out of an adult alternative one hit wonder that exploded in 2006 due to following a formula of soaring music designed to be played over the dramatic moments of dramas. But they did nail that formula, with Eyes Open arguably being the best album among the many U2 wannabes that dominated that year. Frontman Gary Lightbody’s way around a hook and overly detailed yet very earnest writing helped give that album an emotional power that resulted in an album of 11 memorable and heartfelt radio rock tunes that tapped into something their contemporaries wished they could have. Sadly, the same can be said for Snow Patrol themselves during their following albums. While A Hundred Million Suns still has plenty of shining moments (notably the opening and the closing numbers), it was a very inconsistent record that had as many brilliant tracks as it did just flat out boring. And Fallen Empires was an exhausted hour long affair that perfectly showed a band completely out of ideas. The formula that had worked so well for them in the past had run it’s course long ago, and with each passing album it became more and more tired.

Considering the enormous gap between releases and Lightbody flat out admitting he had suffered massive writers block for an extended period of time it’s honestly kind of surprising this album even exists. Perhaps Fallen Empires was the final nail in the coffin and we’d never see anything from this band again, or at the very least anything passable. But seven years later, here we are with their newest album Wildness. A supposedly more diverse affair than their previous records, especially regarding the lyrical themes which deviate from the usual Snow Patrol formula of 40 minutes of breakup songs to instead focus on Lightbody’s personal life. And the band was certainly right about this being their most diverse collection of songs as this is definitely their most ambitious record in a while, if ever. However, this ambition comes with great inconsistency both in tone and quality, making for a decent albeit hit and miss comeback.

There is a clear effort here made by Lightbody and co. to make an album that tries to combine experimentation with the sound that drew fans to the band in the firsts place, and more often than not the latter pays off better. “Heal Me” and “Empress” are enjoyable throwbacks to their earlier days, filled with soaring hooks and anthemic compositions that wouldn’t feel out of place on Eyes Open. “What if This is All the Love You Ever Get” is a stripped back ballad similar to if “The Finish Line” had been performed with nothing but piano and Lightbody’s vocals that serves as a nice transition piece in the middle of the album. This isn’t to say the more expansive moments don’t shine in places though. “Soon” is a stunner addressing Lightbody’s father’s dementia. The eerie synths and strings in the background of the morose acoustic guitar line helps make the song all the more haunting. Album closer “Life and Death” is the clear highlight hear, as Lightbody’s falsetto floats over the somber, airy instrumental creating a surreal and melancholic tone. A build up pops up during the second chorus that leads into the climax of the song before it wisps away in the form of gentle vocal harmonies. It’s one of few moments on here that shows the band still is capable of epics such as “Open Your Eyes” and “The Lightning Strike”, and stands as one of the better tracks in Snow Patrol’s discography.

However, with all the successes of the album, there are plenty of missteps to be found. “Don’t Give In” is Lightbody’s most astonishingly bad vocal performances, as he attempts to do a Springsteen impression during the Imagine Dragons lite chorus and fails miserably. “A Dark Switch” is a somewhat funky feeling song and while not horribly written sounds extremely out of place on the record which is not helped by Lightbody’s vocals. “A Youth Written in Fire” is the lowest point on the record, pairing cheap electronics with embarrassing lyrics such as “remember the first time we kissed / it felt like a planet forming”.

Overall Wildness is a half good album and a respectable effort for the band at this stage in their career, but after seven years of development it leaves a lot to be desired. The high points are enough to keep this above the mediocrity of Fallen Empires, but not quite enough to make up for the average and in some instances flat out terrible songs. It’d be interesting to hear how the band will develop some of the better ideas here in the future as there are glimmers potential that could later lead to some of their best work. However, considering how dull the rest of their recent output has been, anything memorable is a step in the right direction

Track Picks: Empress, What if This is All the Love You Ever Get, Soon
Skip: Don’t Give In, A Youth Written in Fire



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user ratings (54)
Chart.
2.7
average

Comments:Add a Comment 
onionbubs
May 25th 2018


9883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

like its kind of ehhh in places but i have a soft spot for these guys and its got enough songs i dig to make it not a complete waste like their last album

DoofusWainwright
May 25th 2018


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

This was awful

onionbubs
May 25th 2018


9883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

probably is but im 17 and don’t have any standard of quality so

DoofusWainwright
May 25th 2018


20001 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

For rating reference I rate Final Straw a 2 and Eyes Open a 1.5....so it is only a 1 point drop in quality from their best for me.



It's just I don't really like the band much at all to begin with.

onionbubs
May 25th 2018


9883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

yea totally fair lol not something i’d expect you would like

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2018


14896 Comments


Great review onion, nice to see you reviewing again. I hate this band though, so I doubt I'll ever check this album out.

have a pos from the dr

onionbubs
May 25th 2018


9883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i actually have like three reviews i near finished for stuff a while back that i haven’t gotten around to proofreadingor releasing. hopefully that stuff will see the light of day soon once i get around to it lol



yea not worth a listen if you already don’t like them nothing here to win you over

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 25th 2018


28386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Solid write up. I'm not expecting much out of this but I'm going to listen anyway. Hundred Million Suns is by far their best work, with Eyes Open next on the list. Not much else in their discography ever blew me away.

Digging: John Nolan - Abendigo

JesperL
May 25th 2018


312 Comments


I love eyes open, record has a lot of nostalgia attached to it for me.. might check this out when I feel like listening to radio rock again lol

DropTune
May 25th 2018


1242 Comments


Hoobastank and Snow Patrol? Am I still in 2005? Is The Fray releasing an album too?

onionbubs
May 25th 2018


9883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

this is way fucking better than the hoobastank lol



woa feature. thanks guys

DropTune
May 25th 2018


1242 Comments


Still, I'm just waiting for 3 Doors Down, The Fray, and Five for Fighting to drop an album to complete the cycle.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2018


23947 Comments


could do without the track preferences at the end of the review (usually works better as a comment but that’s just me). however this is superbly written, esp that first para man.

onionbubs
May 25th 2018


9883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

thanks, i’ll keep that in mind

DropTune
May 25th 2018


1242 Comments


Just do what I do and throw a "standout tracks" section at the end of the review, or make reference to them in the review.

TundraL5Z
May 26th 2018


1953 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

bleh.

nice review

Digging: The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 26th 2018


28386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

'Heal Me', 'Soon', and especially 'Life and Death' are really nice. Otherwise this is bland, even for Snow Patrol. Not really worth getting back into them, seems like A Hundred Million Suns is still the last worthwhile thing they've done.

onionbubs
May 26th 2018


9883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

wait really i think a youth written in fire is like one of the worst things they’ve ever done and life and death could’ve been good if not for the fucking over processed falsetto vox



whenever i try to listen to this i can’t tell if it’s growing on or off me

SowingSeason
Moderator
May 26th 2018


28386 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Sorry I confused the track order, I meant Soon. Those 3 tracks I listed above are the only ones I enjoyed, the rest feels muddled and stylistically juxtaposed randomly.

onionbubs
May 26th 2018


9883 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

soon and heal me are great ya. im really loving empress and what if this is all the love too on repeated listens but the weaker tracks have only soured on me on repeated listens ESPCIALLY youth written in fire



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