Album review: Snow Patrol, Fallen Empires

AS SCOTTISH as our football team, or for that matter Rod Stewart, the Bangor band formed at Dundee University in the mid 90s, and their ascent to the upper echelon of global rock acts has been steady, if musically unspectacular.

Their Celtic identity has never been better celebrated than on the title track of this, their sixth album. It is a call to arms for a war never waged, a banner waver destined for the fields of Europe next summer, as Snow Patrol battle it out with the gnarled old warriors of The Stone Roses for festival superiority.

Fallen Empires has that Celtic stomp powered by acoustic strings that can out-muscle any heavy metal chords. Called Out In The Dark has already declared itself the latest Snow Patrol pop rock anthem, straight out of Garry Lightbody’s melodic chugger drawer.

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Marginally superior is This Isn’t Everything You Are, which highlights his ability to work the conversational into a lyric. Making a memorable hook out of the phrase “Don’t Keel Over Now” is not for beginners, and Lightbody has been honing his talent at the highest level for the best part of a decade now.

He and Snow Patrol know what their fans and the producers of light angst American dramas want, and half of this record seems destined for the credits of Grey’s Anatomy. Or maybe the new Batman movie.

Rating: ****

Download this: Fallen Empires, New York