I know so little of Snow Patrol who are now a bit of an institution. So what I’m going to say is probably going to piss some people off. So I’m sorry.
I don’t remember which song it was – probably “Ask Me How I Am” – but, on my first listen, one of the songs on this record, (and then another, and then another) reminded me of the ballad side of Sebadoh circa Harmacy. It started getting carried away, with more and more of these songs sounding vaguely like that and I couldn’t escape the comparison. And I still can’t escape it. Though Lightbody doesn’t actually sound identical to Barlow at his softest, he does sound a little bit like him. And the aesthetic is similar enough that it’s disconcerting.
And, unfortunately this impression has coloured my entire experience of this record. Snow Patrol may sound nothing like Sebadoh most of the time – certainly they sound nothing like early Sebadoh – but, on this record, they sound like a certain era of Sebadoh too much of the time for me. But worse, they lack Sebadoh’s stylistic diversity.
The songs are catchy enough. And I think that, had I not has this association, I might have a little more time for them. I can see why people like this band, especially if they are unfamiliar with ’90s American indie rock. They certainly don’t lack for decent material.
Actually, I didn’t realize I was listening to the bonus edition and so I was going to write that they had too much material and some of it was too similar to each other. But that turns out to be an impression generated nearly entirely by the bonus tracks, which wouldn’t have been available in 2001.
Anyway, this record elicits a giant shoulder shrug from me. It might not have, had I not become convince they sound too much like the ballads on one particular Sebadoh album. But I’ll never know now.