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Half The Fun Of it Is You Cant Keep Up
Final Straw - Snow Patrol
Member Name: Andy.mack
Final Straw - Snow Patrol
Date: 28/02/04, updated on 11/01/05 (516 review reads)
Advantages: No weak tracks, One of the years best albums so far
Disadvantages: maybe a tad long
I?d imagine I was probably one of only a few Dooyoo members who had head of Snow Patrol before the recent release of the third album ?Final Straw? and come to think of it I?m probably still one of only a few members to have heard of the band since as well. The first two albums weren?t the best but since then Snow Patrol have undergone a slight personnel change and have changed direction slightly with the help of a new producer and new record label.
The band originally met at Dundee University after lead singer Gary Lightbody had come across from Northern Ireland to attend and met Bass player Mark McClalland on the first day there. After a lot of early praise they proceeded to tour with the likes of Travis and Belle and Sebastian as they became one of the darlings of the Scottish music scene. However after debut effort ?Songs For Polar Bears? and second album ?When Its All Over We Still Have to Clear Up?, Snow Patrol have taken to their Scottish roots and come up with this masterpiece of an album.
From the albums opening track ?How To Be Dead? the tone of the album is set. A guitar intro dies out before a keyboard brings the song back to life and the guitar suddenly stars up again providing a slow mellow introduction. The vocals come in soon afterwards and although the lyrics are a bit bizarre they really do sound superb complimented well by the guitars and a slow drum beat in the back ground. A good solid start that mixes a nice steady beat with a nice melody and really emphasises the vocals. The pace of the track varies slightly but it really is a good start to the album.
The second track really picks up where the first left off and ?Wow? starts with some guitars obviously being tuned before a beat really starts up. The drum beat stays constant throughout picking up the pace from the beginning making this a fairly medium paced track. The guitars sound amazing and really compliment the vocals well, which again work well with some clever ly
rics. The slower parts of the track don?t really last that long and still have a real edgy feel to them as the guitars repeat the same chords while the drum beat changes slightly from the rest of the track. A touch of distortion added to the vocals works really well and adds a little something extra to the overall feel of the song.
?Gleaming Auction? is the shortest track on the album and again continues the gradual pace build up already displayed in the previous two tracks. Rather than the casual intro the guitar starts straight away with the drums and vocals coming in pretty shortly after. This leads the first verse into the chorus where the pace and sound changes completely as a heavier guitar really leads the way and the pace of the drums picks up a touch. The vocals again have changed in tone and sound from the previous 2 tracks but still sounds as good if not better, which adds a refreshing touch to the album as they don?t sound the same.
That?s followed up by ?Whatever?s Left?, which in all honesty starts in a very similar way to ?Gleaming Auction?. Although this helps to keep the consistency of the album and helps it to flow along a lot easier than it would have changing the style with every track. The bass brings it in but is joined very quickly by the drums, vocals and guitars, for a good solid intro building steadily into a more upbeat faster track that really keeps the album going. The vocals again sound good and are actually quite catchy complimented well by the guitars.
The first single to be taken from the album, ?Spiting Game?, didn?t really get a lot of airplay and seemed to really slip by without anyone noticing it. A fast paced start with the guitars and drums coming in from the opening note for a short introduction before the melody changes slightly and the vocals start up. The rhythm of the track stays consistent all the way through with the vocals really taking the forward role but the drums and guitars really complim
enting them well and really giving the feeling that they are keeping the song and the album moving along. The vocals sounds slightly different again to any of the other tracks and this adds good variety to the overall feel of the album.
The next track is one of my favourites and also includes the album title as part of the lyrics. ?Chocolate? slows the pace of the album down to a more mellow level but it works well and really signifies the start of the mellower middle section. A slow guitar intro, joined fairly shortly afterwards by the drums gets the track underway and sounds perfect for a middle of the album interlude. The vocals come in fairly soon afterwards while the drum beat continues all the way into the chorus, where the pace and melody change slightly but keeps the same pace and beat. The lyrics are well written and Gary?s vocals really bring out the best in them.
It?s then the current single and the track that?s really got the band the acknowledgement and praise they deserve. ?Run? is another slower track and the middle of the three mellower songs on the album, this one is probably the slowest of the lot. A slow guitar opens before the drums come in at a similar slow meandering pace before finally the vocals come in. The slow pace of the vocals mean they are almost spoken but the lyrics really set your mind off thinking about the songs content of lost love. It?s a little different from the rest of the album in terms of pace but sounds totally amazing.
Coming to the end of this mellower segment the final song of the three is ?Grazed Knees?. It has a very haunting opening with the keyboard really opening it up before the guitar comes in followed shortly after by the vocals. The guitar really builds upon this haunting feeling as it slowly builds up in the background and when we finally get to the chorus the full effect of this can be felt as the backing vocals also provide an echo like effect to the main vocals. Although fairly sh
ort it is really good and gets inside your head again really making you think about things, however saying that its just as easy to switch of and enjoy it as just a mellow track.
Another favourite of mine on this album is ?Ways and Means?, which starts to pick the pace back up again. The opening drum beat is a little faster and more purposeful as is the guitar creating a quiet intro gradually getting louder the closer to the verse it gets. The vocals have a slight echo effect to them and again spark a little bit of thought with the lyrics. The repeating tune carries on for the verse before the pace and melody chances for the chorus and this really works well as the vocals really continue to lead the sound of the track and the album as a whole. The musical element stays consistent throughout, not really varying a great deal but enough to keep it sounding fresh.
The pace really has been picked up and ?Tiny Little Fractures? just carries this on. The guitars open it up with a pretty fast paced but repetitive riff before the drums come in to lead the song into the verse. The pace settles with the introduction of the vocals, which again sound brilliant and are complimented very well by the guitars. Musically as well the track works very well and although maybe a little quiet in places the drums and guitars seem to compliment each other well and keep the faster pace of the track moving along. If this isn?t a future single I?d be very surprised.
With only 2 tracks of the album to go, ?Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking?, which actually slows the pace down again a little. But from the opening notes of the guitar it starts well and the vocals come in quite quickly to accompany it. The slow start builds up nicely as the track goes on and the backing vocals accompanying the lead again adds a little something to the track. The lyrics again are well written and the changes from the quieter sections of the track to the louder parts are done very well, all of
which helps to make this one of the better albums of the year so far.
The final official track on the album and also the longest ?Same? is another mellower track that opens with a piano loop and the vocals coming in shortly afterwards. The slow pace is carried on as the drums and guitars come in to lead the song along. The correlation between the drums, guitars and vocals really make the song what it is. The vocals mixed with good quality lyrics really round off a good track. However when I say it?s the longest track, that?s because they leave a couple of minutes of dead CD time, which is something that really annoys me on albums.
The reason for this couple of minute gap is a couple of UK only bonus tracks, both of which are very good, but I?ll let you find that out for yourself if you buy the album. Overall it?s the best album from the band so far and that?s not normally something that can be said for a third album. The sound really goes back to the mid 90?s and captures the best parts from a lot of recent Scottish bands, Idlewild, Travis et all. It?s certainly one I?d recommend although if your not keen on ?Run? then I?d advise against it. Available from www.cd-wow.com for £8.99