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on February 17, 2012
My advice: Pay no attention to either the enthusiasts or the hecklers. There's a lot of talk about how this album took such a giant stylistic leap from their usual muse. This is true for maybe three tracks on the album, in which they used techno flourishes and dance grooves that sometimes throw back to 80s synth-pop-- and, in my opinion, that wasn't a bad thing. I'm not like some reviewers who think bands should never re-invent themselves. (That's why I'm not a huge fan of bands like Boston and AC/DC. Pretty much, each release sounds like every other. But, I digress.)
Those three aforementioned tracks-- "I'll Never Let Go", "Called Out In the Dark" and "In the End"-- are pretty much it for any real stylistic change. And even with those, take away the synths, and they sound just like earlier Snow Patrol work. And, frankly, it's not like they have never used spacey synths before, so even there, it's nothing shockingly new.
The rest of the album is right on par with the typical Snow Patrol material: A few quirky rockers, lots of big, orchestrated ballads with their almost trademark lack of any real bridge, and chorus sometimes not coming in until the very end when it is repeated over... and over.... again.... A formula that has appeared in every album over... and over.... again.... Also, a very simple tune like "Berlin" with wordless vocals, which reminds one much of artsy filler like "NYC" on the Songs for Polar Bears debut.
The stand-outs are the three earlier ones mentioned, as well as the moody ballad "This Isn't Everything You Are"-- awesome songwriting, here--, the intense build-up music of the title track and the cinematic "The Symphony", which are the kind of tracks that endeared me to SP to begin with.
In reality, rather than wowing (or enraging) us with any surprising stylistic change, this is very much an obvious continuation of A Hundred Million Suns-- but not quite as good. Indeed, Fallen Empires is a good recording, but not Snow Patrols best. Some fans, such as myself, will enjoy it, but we are hoping the next one returns to the quality of previous releases.
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on January 11, 2012
Credit must be given where it is due. Snow Patrol have taken a creative risk by bathing new studio album "Fallen Empires" in electro beats and flirting ever so carefully on several tracks with a sound that's a bit more radio-friendly.

Regardless, what really works for "Fallen Empires" is the general lack of a dour, self-serious vibe that often plagues the work of decidedly "arty" rock artists at this approximate time of career. Gary Lightbody and company do not project any more than a necessary self-consciousness into the material, so nothing is cloying or overly sentimental. The music breathes.

Singles "Calling Out in the Dark," "This Isn't Everything You Are" and "New York" all have pep, rhythm, melody and sparkle with glistening choruses and considered, poetic lyrics that transform them into impressive, easy-to-listen-to pop/rock anthems.

They are not where the record's merit ends. "In the End" is profoundly stirring, with strong percussion from Jonny Quinn and husky guitars from Nathan Connolly propelling the pathos-fused melody and lyric onward. Lightbody's vocals are sincere and rife with passion. The nervy, jangly title track, with vocal modulations and rapid-fire drumming, works nearly as well.

The particularly electro-infused opener "I'll Never Let Go" is as intriguing and idiosyncratic as the more simply-produced anthem "Lifening," which breathes easily, simply presenting Lightbody's unique take on the meaning of life atop a highly evocative guitar.

"Berlin" also spots a unique worldbeat feel with a mixed-gender choral background, while "Those Distant Bells" sets the balmy, deeply felt tone its title implies.

"Fallen Empires" may lose Snow Patrol some fans, but it may gain them some as well. It is a slick, adventurous and artistically sincere set of solid tunes crafted by inarguably talented musicians.
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VINE VOICEon January 10, 2012
Snow Patrol had cautioned fans that they should expect the band to take a new musical direction, so it was with a sense of concern that I approached this album. I need not have worried. Lightbody is still singing his heart out, his beautiful tenor floating and soaring and giving me chills. The music is a little more back to basics, rockier, but still fully accessible to fans who have been following them. Stand out tracks for me include "New York", which has an aching intro that harks back to some of the best moments of Snow Patrol, and "In The End", where Lightbody intones "In the end, there's nothing more to life than love, is there?" over a thrumming bass and a hard drumbeat. Ultimately, if you've been loving Snow Patrol, don't be scared. This is still classic Britrock with the melodic sensibilities that we have loved before. I think that this record will welcome a new set of fans into the fold. Very enjoyable, accessible record.
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on March 7, 2012
I was late learning of the band Snow Patrol, only becoming a fan after their 3rd album. This album is absolutely beautiful. You can rock out to Called Out in the Dark, Weight of Love or Berlin, or be caught up in the haunting music and lyrics of Those Distant Bells, The Garden Rules and The President. The Symphony is in a class all its own. I have listened to this album for three straight weeks and never tire of it. I don't find very many bands today that have such depth in their lyrics and satisfying intricacy in their musical arrangements as Snow Patrol. There is an intimacy to their music that draws one in and always delivers. Sweet music!
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on January 20, 2012
i'm very happy with this album. i feel like most artists/groups degrade with time and fail to maintain momentum. snow patrol continues to deliver incredible music time and time again. i can easily say that i love all of the songs on this album, and it's hard to pick a favorite.

one thing that i have to note is that it's a little unsettling that the majority of the songs (both for this album and other albums) uses a lot of personal referents (like you, yours, etc), and thus it really feels like gary is talking directly to the listener, which maybe he is. unsettling might be a overly negative word choice, unusual might be better - there is an unusually high degree of personable lyrics such that the over all experience of listening feels very intimate and almost like a private series of songs - a nice effect.
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on June 26, 2015
I had heard of this band before, but this old geezer from the seventies thought that with a name like that, they just had to be a rave band into coke, so I dumbly ignored them. Gosh, was I ever wrong and I recently realized what I have been missing for all these years.

How did I find out about this album whereby every single cut is a winner? Well, I went to YouTube videos to find out if my cancelled trip from 2012 to the North Cascades can be planned again, and is it worth the time and money. One of those videos recorded an eastbound road trip from Diablo Overlook in fast motion, with a wonderful song in the background. Being like a spoiled kid who must have every single song that appeals to him, I just had to have it. Unfortunately, the one who posted the video did not credit the song. Have no fear! I wrote down the longest phrase of the chorus and looked that up. Lo and behold, it led me to a song called The Symphony from this album. That was it! To heck with researching this trip, it was time to find the entire album posted on You Tube, just to make sure that this one song was not a fluke. I judged the whole album to be a winner and ordered this deluxe edition from Amazon. I don't work for free, so I always buy from my favorite artists and support them in their future endeavors. I only wish that more music listeners felt this way.

This is some very intricately arranged Irish pop music that mostly builds up to a crescendo. Every single song is a winner, and this old geezer always finds at least one turkey, but not here. Since the easiest way to get this CD is to get the Deluxe Edition, I will tell you that the DVD that comes with it was recorded live in November of 2009 at Royal Albert Hall with a small orchestra. That one is nothing at all like this CD, as it is mostly low tempo songs. Eventually, I will watch the whole thing, but it reminds me of Florence Welch's performance at the same hall, whereby it is clear to see that the artist's view is like, "We must behave ourselves since we are playing Royal Albert Hall". Very, very British. I also ordered their compilation called Up To Now, and a review on that will come at a later date.
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on February 11, 2012
I usually have to listen to an album a few times to decide if I am really going to like it. Well, this was love at 1st listen!!! I think Snow Patrol's sound has continued to evolve and become more complex. I absolutely cannot wait to see the band in April!!! Congrats guys on a job well done!!!
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VINE VOICEon January 20, 2012
Snow Patrol and Coldplay continue to battle for the U2 throne, and that's fine by me because U2 isn't putting out music very often, so I need something else. Snow Patrol originally grabbed my attention back in the fall of 2004 when I continued to see their video for "Run". It's what hooked me in and reminded me of the great New Wave bands from the late 70's and early 80's, and sounding very much like U2 and Coldplay.

Now, I see here that there are some minor complaints about the musical direction the band has taken with "Fallen Empires", but to my ears this is pretty much the same thing they have been doing since "Final Straw" just with a few more tweaks and knob twiddling. They are capable of making good music, but they haven't quite found their footing and reached for true greatness. Like Coldplay, they continue to make consistent and solid albums, but they avoid taking the next step in their evolution musically.

Snow Patrol on "Fallen Empires" sound like they are spinning their wheels, like they can't figure out where to go next. They sound good, especially on the first single, "Called Out In The Dark" with its buoyant beat and extremely catchy rhythm. The second single, the ballad, "This Isn't Everything That You Are" is also good, but standard Snow Patrol fare. It took a while for "The Weight Of Love" to grow on me, and I still think it's the weakest track here. The title track is compelling, if not repetitive. I think the other interesting tracks here are "Lifening", "The Symphony" and "The President"--all of which are catchy. I don't know why the band felt the need to add two instrumentals in the form of "Berlin" and "Broken Bottles Form A Star (Prelude)". They are both rather uneventful. However, "Berlin" would have been nicer if they had actually taken the time to flesh it out. It showed some promise.

The problem I have with Snow Patrol is that they make good music, but most of it is unmemorable. I mean, after listening to "Fallen Empires" I was left with a decent feeling of a decent album, but the songs didn't burrow into my subconscious and find a home there. Great pop music does that--it glues itself to you. I admit "Called Out In The Dark" is a strong song here, but aside from the song's musical arrangement, I could not tell you what Gary Lightbody was singing about. And that's another problem. Lightbody needs work as a song writer. His lyrics are serviceable, and sometimes they hit their mark especially when he does ballads like "The Garden Rules", "Lifening" and "The President". Dare I say that Snow Play are at risk of becoming Chicago? A ballad band?

I listened to each Snow Patrol album in sequential order prior to reviewing "Fallen Empires" and here's how their new album compares with their previous work:

1998 Songs For Polar Bears: Two and a Half Stars
2001 When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up: Three Stars
2003 Final Straw: Three and a Half Stars
2006 Eyes Open: Four Stars
2008 A Hundred Million Suns: Four Stars
2011 Fallen Empires: Four Stars
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on February 3, 2016
Have thoroughly enjoyed this Album form front to back. Lightbody will sometimes drift from what his intended message may be, but he does find his way back to the concept at hand. Called Out in the Dark was the primary release leading up to this album release, but does not do justice to what musical genius lies within. This music from SP is candy to the ears and delivers a calm over the chaos that resides in the human psyche. My favourite tunes are Berlin, In the End, TIEYA, and New York. The entire record is brilliant. Plop this on the turntable and enjoy. It is in heavy rotation in my vehicle and earbuds.
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on December 25, 2014
Some hits, some misses. Good songs, but gets a bit same-y after awhile. It's also a little over-produced for my taste. I think that's the culprit in their sound, actually. Trying to make these songs fit a previously successful form and feel. The result is that even though there are plenty of good new hooks here, it breaks ZERO new ground.
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