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Fallen Empires

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Editors’ Notes

The songs on Snow Patrol’s sixth studio album didn’t come easy. While working on Fallen Empires, frontman Gary Lightbody grappled with writer’s block (which R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe helped him overcome). Still, you’d be hard-pressed to tell this from the flowing opener, “I'll Never Let Go”—a winsome tune with a pulsing, Vangelis-inspired intro that reveals a move toward classic electro flourishes. By the chorus of the cool “Called Out in the Dark,” it’s evident that Snow Patrol is embracing a change in sound. With guitars upstaged by icy synthesizers, disco-tinged grooves, and sequenced beats, melancholy never sounded so smooth—especially when the chorus unfolds. The gradually ascending title track builds layers of acoustic trill with fluttering orchestration, but it’s the powerful “New York” that proves to be the album’s standout.

Customer Reviews

Wrong Direction Snow Patrol!

These guys have been going very steadily downhill since Final Straw. That was one of the best albums I've ever heard period and one of the few where every song was great. Now they're trying to become some tastless Coldplay spinoff. Hundred Million Suns was poor, and this album was even worse. When I saw that this was coming out, I was excited and cautiously optimistic, but they disappointed again. Where's the intensity, the elaborate lyrics, the haunting vocals and guitar?!? I want the old Snow Patrol Back.

New sound

The band decided to go with a new style and an altered sound. But it's quality stuff and still a great mix of sounds.


Sheer brilliance.


Formed: 1994 in Dundee, Scotland

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After failing to secure an international audience for nearly ten years, Snow Patrol broke into the mainstream with 2003's Final Straw, a mega-selling album that showcased the band's fondness for epic, melancholic rock. The group had originally stuck closer to the pop realm, releasing quirky albums that took more cues from Belle & Sebastian than Coldplay (to whom the band would later draw many comparisons). Final Straw proved to be a turning point, however, paving the way for the success of 2006's...
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