Final Straw





Itís been a bit of a rollercoaster ride for Snow Patrol the past few years. After releasing two albums, including Songs For Polarbears, which contained the wondrous ìStarfighter Pilot,î for the essential Scottish pop label Jeepster, home to Belle & Sebastian and Gentle Waves, the Northern Irish quartet chose not to re-up with Jeepster and headed out on their own, searching for new battles and a new label. In stepped ex-Mad Minute label head Jim Chancellor, now doing A&R for Polydor, Polydor fed it to Fiction/A&M in the US, and the rest, as they say, is history. The band enlisted ex-Compulsion guitarist and Big Beat producer Jacknife Lee to twiddle the knobs on their major label debut, Final Straw, and the difference is evident from the jump. Final Straw is a much more dynamic body of work, with Gary Lightbody (that HAS to be a made up name, right?) leading his brigade from behind the microphone. Album opener "How To Be Dead" rings of Love Spit Love's "Am I Wrong," while echoes of Lou Barlow and his Sebadoh outfit are evident on "Tiny Little Fractures." The standout tracks, for me, however, are "Spitting Games" and "Run," the former pairing chiming guitars with a urgent drum cadence, while the latter plays with your heartstrings, the chorus of ìlight up, light up, as if you have a choiceî crescendoing into the heavens, lifted even further by the backing string arrangement. If you're still an unbeliever, ask anyone who saw their amazing shows in Austin and find out exactly what you missed. Snow Patrol still have their air of Radiohead meets Lou Barlow, itís just now, the production is as strong as the songwriting.

Snow Patrol
Fiction/A&M

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Final Straw