Snow Patrol: ‘Fallen Empires’

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.

© 2012 ForASong Media, LLC

…For Auld Lang Syne

As a new year begins, I find myself taking time to reflect on the year’s past events before jumping headlong into the 12 months that lie ahead. Musically speaking, 2011 was a great year and included such notable highlights as U2’s record-breaking 360° Tour, Lady Gaga’s outlandishly engaging Monster Ball, and great albums by Adele, Panic! at the Disco, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Lady Antebellum, Dolly Parton, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Ronnie Dunn’s first solo record, Tori Amos’ all classical recording, a new Christmas classic by Michael Bublé, and of course Born This Way, by the aforementioned Lady Gaga.

I look forward to 2012 with great musical anticipation as I eagerly await new music releases from Snow Patrol, Tim McGraw, The Fray, Dierks Bentley, Adam Lambert, Leona Lewis, and Madonna, just to name a few. And who knows what other melodious surprises are in store for unsuspecting ears? The ever evolving and unpredictable nature of music is what makes it thrilling and keeps my iPod’s insatiable appetite endlessly salivating for a never ending supply of tasty tunes. So I fondly bid farewell to 2011 and ardently prepare to say hello to 2012.