Sunday, November 09, 2008

A Few Flurries, but Nothing That Really Sticks

Album Review:
Snow Patrol
A Hundred Million Suns

If you're reading this blog, you likely already know that I have an affinity for bands from the British Isles whose success at home far exceeds their renown in the U.S. With their new CD debuting at #9 on the Billboard Album Chart, Snow Patrol can no longer be considered an American secret, although having sold out Chicago's Aragon Ballroom on their last tour was still just a fraction of their 'multiple nights at Wembley Stadium' success in the UK.

On A Hundred Million Suns, the Northern Ireland quintet follows a pattern basically set with their first four albums, especially the last two. With their usual quotient of overtly anthemic if a bit mushy tracks -- a la past hits "Run" and "Chasing Cars" -- mixed with a few harder-driving rockers, the album sounds good at first blush or as music playing in the background. But a number of plays in the car revealed several ponderous, "hit skip" songs and even the better tunes don't seem to say much or define themselves as essential listening. 

The album opens relatively strong with "If There's A Rocket Tie Me To It," "Crack the Shutters" and "Take Back the City" all sure to sound good in concert and on an eventual Best Of set. But the remaining 8 songs are largely hit or miss, including the 16 minute final track which is both. "Please Take These Photos from My Hands" and "Disaster Button" are also worth mention.

In sum, if you're already a Snow Patrol fan, this is a worthwhile if unspectacular addition. If you don't like SP, this album won't convert you. And if you have no clue who Snow Patrol is, this probably isn't the best place to start. Or at best, just download tracks 1, 2, 3, 6 and 10.

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