CD Review of A Hundred Million Suns by Snow Patrol
Recommended if you like
Keane, Augustana, Better Than Ezra
Label
Geffen
Snow Patrol:
A Hundred Million Suns

Reviewed by Mike Farley

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I
n our interview with Snow Patrol drummer Jonny Quinn, he pointed out that his band has never been one of those “cover of a magazine” type bands. He’s correct, because despite going seven times platinum on their 2006 effort, Eyes Open, Snow Patrol is one of those bands that isn’t cool enough for the cool people. That tends to happen with acts that deliver compelling alt-pop that is melodic and breezy, bordering on ear candy – as opposed to those magazine bands (ahem, My Morning Jacket) whose music is praised by critics but leaves a lot of us music fans scratching our heads. Quinn doesn’t care about any of that, and when you Snow Patrol fans check out his band’s latest, A Hundred Million Suns, you won’t care, either.

Gary Lightbody’s voice has become very distinctive and easy to recognize, helping Snow Patrol stand out a bit. But his songs are the real ticket, and right from the opening anthem, “If There’s a Rocket, Tie Me to It,” the tone is set. “Crack the Shutters” sounds more like “Chasing Cars,” the big single from Snow Patrol’s last effort – well, more so than Quinn or Lightbody would probably admit. “Take the City” is catchy and it’s easy to see why it was chosen as the first single, but it’s a bit too sugary. When darkness casts its pall over the next few tracks, “Lifeboats” and “The Golden Floor,” as well as on the closer “The Lightning Strike,” this band really starts to show its versatility. Not to mention that those three are maybe the album’s best material. And if you like Augustana, you’ll love “The Planets Bend between Us,” a mid-tempo brood-fest if ever there was one. Finally, “Disaster Button” is a lot like “Headlights on Dark Roads” from Eyes Open – and it’s interesting lyrically, but raise your hand if you know what Lightbody is trying to say. Then again, the alternative rock code is that your lyrics can be full of metaphors and you can get away with it.

Snow Patrol

Taken as a whole, A Hundred Million Suns is pretty much a continuation of Eyes Open, but these 11-plus tracks (“The Lightning Strike” is a four-part song) are a slight improvement, and worthy of saying for real that this is Snow Patrol’s best. The magazine covers may never come if the music keeps getting better, and that’s probably a good thing for all of us.

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