After seven years away from the spotlight, it really comes as no surprise to find that the latest LP from Snow Patrol titled Wildness displays a vast shift in their sound and style, both instrumental and lyrical, when compared to their previous releases and hits such as ‘Chasing Cars’ and ‘Run.’
Opening number ‘Life On Earth’ is quite possibly the closest the collection comes to harking back to the days of their globally successful and radio friendly super-hits of yesteryear, and is one of the more melodic pieces included in the track-listing. However, it also includes some thumping and brilliant percussion in the choruses that give the song that little kick it needed to make it memorable.
Lead single ‘Don’t Give In’ is next and sadly, is somewhat disappointing. The raspy edge to Gary Lightbody’s voice is bearable, but it’s the lyrics that really let it down. They lack the flow and smoothness that so many of the bands’ earlier songs have supplied, and ‘Heal Me’ is only little better. Fortunately things start to improve with the arrival of ‘Empress’ which kicks the beat and tone up a few notches.
Striking a perfect balance between sentimentality and overwhelming emotion, ‘What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get?’ is the real highlight of the collection and showcases Lightbody’s lyrical talents at their very best, with lines such as “What if it hurts like hell? Then it’ll hurt like hell, I’m in the ruins too, I know the wreckage so well” being the most memorable and almost certain to ring true for many listeners who hear them.
With its heavy bass-line, there’s an unmistakable almost ‘tribute’ to the likes of New Order within ‘A Youth Written In Fire’ and it’s not one to be played at full blast through headphones unless you want to risk deafness. Meanwhile, ‘Wild Horses’ shift things forward a little with a fantastic 80’s style rock beat and rhythm, and when coupled with a vocal that rises and falls, very much like horses do when they gallop and jump, what’s left behind for listeners to enjoy is a toe tapping track that’s easily one of the best on the album.
The album closes out with the subdued ‘Life And Death’, which at over five and a half minutes is a little too long winded to likely hold each and every listeners’ attention meaning the collection ends on a considerably low, disappointing note. As a whole, Wildness proves that Snow Patrol have still held on to a few small elements of who they once were, but have also taken a few risks in order to try and keep up with the ever changing industry they’re a part of. Quite how successful those risks will prove to be in the long run however remains to be seen.
Wildness is available now on Polydor.