Snow Patrol – ‘Wildness’ – 25/05/18
Seven years after the release of their last album, Snow Patrol are back with their stunning full-length album, Wildness. This time away from the band has allowed the members to grow and this is quite clearly reflected in the music that they’ve released as a unit.
Opening the album is ‘Life on Earth’, a steady yet beautiful acoustic track with enchanting vocals. The bass and string sections grow steadily but surely, with distorted guitars putting emphasis on certain lyrics. This song may be understated, but it is poignant and produced perfectly.
The music that Snow Patrol are releasing now is in stark contrast to their debut album of twenty years ago, but their flair for songwriting and experimentation is still clear. ‘Heal Me’ is another song that heavily features acoustic guitar, but this is accentuated by drum machines and futuristic synths. The lyrics are delivered with a wonderful warmth and passion, and lead singer and songwriter Gary Lightbody said that this song is dedicated to the person who helped him on his journey back to health and clarity.
No two songs on Wildness sound the same, with ‘A Dark Switch’ standing out as vastly different; it has a guitar loop that forms the base of the song, with bitty synthesizers and a string section being combined cleverly to create a sound that is very unique. Alongside the musicianship, this track highlights the range in Lightbody’s vocal.
‘A Youth Written In Fire’ appears to have been driven by nostalgia, reflecting on how life and experiences change as we grow. It features the eclectic mix of acoustic and electronic elements that is a recurring theme of the album, but is somehow more stripped back. Droning synths fill the peaceful moments, and the song grows and changes from its beginnings to become heavily electronic, rather than acoustic.
Taking things right back to Snow Patrol’s famous acoustic sound is ‘Soon’. It’s a heart-wrenching song written about loss of memory, and is sure to hit home for many people. The lyrics are wrapped up in arpeggiated keys and strings that grow to create an emotional yet spectacular song. Following this is ‘Wild Horses’, a song that is both upbeat and uplifting, with heartfelt and positive lyrics. It’s a combination of classic Snow Patrol and country music, and features clever guitar riffs and a fast pace. It’s got a big chorus and will definitely become a stadium anthem for a new generation of fans.
‘Life and Death’ closes the album. It Features Lightbody’s usual stunning vocal, and sees different elements of the music introduced in a staggered manner. This causes growth within the track, and it soon transforms from being an acoustic track to a heavily electronic one. It is a reflection of both life and self, and every aspect has been perfected in the time away from the limelight.
Seven years is a long time to be away from music, but it has done wonders for Snow Patrol, who have allowed themselves to make progress and experiment with something new. Wildness is a beautiful album with tracks that don’t just follow the same tried-and-tested formula, something that a lot of bigger artists tend to do. It may be a step in a different direction for the band, but it’s something that has worked well for them and produced a timeless work of art.
Review: Dottie Giles