Snow Patrol is one of those ever-personal bands, like Coldplay or Keane, that one would listen to for the purpose of just wanting to feel something. It has a pretty straight-forward sound and lyrics, which are easy to catch on to. In this respect, however, Snow Patrol’s new record, “Fallen Empires,” is anything but surprising, shoveling out the same old qualities that make the band extremely accessible but sonically flat.
“Fallen Empires” was meant to be a break-out album for Snow Patrol, showcasing a new, electronic sound. Lead guitarist Nathan Connolly even told FemaleFirst.co.uk in August 2009 to “keep an open mind.” This, to me, is senseless advice.
The songs of “Fallen Empires” are hardly a step forward from their previous work. They, for the most part, have that same building, epic quality of “Chasing Cars,” except they’re significantly less catchy. I suppose they paid stronger attention to orchestration, but nonetheless, the same themes and melodic devices are in play throughout the entire album.
The breathy “Called Out In the Dark” is probably the most unique track on the record with its synthpop sensibility. Even with Snow Patrol’s introduction of this relatively new instrument (as far as Snow Patrol’s repertoire goes), the synthesizer, it still maintains the kind of tacky lyricism reminiscent of the closing, supposedly touching, scene of any given MTV reality show.
The majority of “Fallen Empires” blends together, but by no means in a crisp, operatic manner. It’s more of a drone. It doesn’t help that many of the songs are exactly the same in theme and consistently run on past exhaustion. Most of the songs are more than four minutes in length, a good minute longer than they really ought to be.
“I’ll Never Let Go” is just as longing in tone as “This Isn’t Everything You Are” or as “New York.” The shorter songs, “Berlin” and “Broken Bottles From a Star (Prelude)” operate primarily as filler tracks, supporting the run-on quality of the record and providing nothing but time.
It was a bit much of Snow Patrol to act as if it was making great strides toward originality with this record. Nonetheless, Snow Patrol will always have a job; they are the carriers of that “one song” (also known as “Chasing Cars”), which seems to be all-too touching for too many music listeners.