CD review for Nov. 14, 2008
November 14, 2008
“A Hundred Million Suns”
Snow Patrol are sappy. Always have been. The band and their latest record are saturated with emotionalism that pushes forward its rollicking piano choruses and crash-bang drums.
Thing is, Gary Lightbody (actually his name) and his not-so-merry band of musicians are better at being sappy than their peers. They’re better than The Fray or Coldplay, and they easily could open for U2. If you were trying to score the ending scene of a primetime soap opera set in a hospital, you would use a Snow Patrol song. And “A Hundred Million Songs” is full of those background-music-while-a-character-acknowledges-the-fragility-of-life moments, from the Goo-Goo-Dolls reminiscence of “Crack the Shutters” to the deceptively acoustic “Lifeboats” to the ballad “The Planets Bend Between Us.”
That syrupy swagger is balanced by Snow Patrol’s ability to stay buoyant with songs like “Take Back the City,” an empty but poppy lead single.
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The songs on “A Hundred Million Suns” are more polished than the contained fuzz-rock breakouts that occasionally gave dimension to the band’s previous records – most notably with 2004’s “Final Straw.” That’s replaced here by atmospheric tracks, particularly the 16-minute-long, multi-movement closer, “The Lightning Strike.” The work is more ambitious than before, but the intent and the effect are the same. Lightbody and his band could keep doing this for decades, and it probably wouldn’t ever get old. Everyone has to be a sap sometime.
– Margaret Hair, 4 Points
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