Snow Patrol – Eyes Open (2006): Review

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Produced by Jacknife Lee
Label – Fiction/Polydor/A&M

Following the commercial success of 2004’s “Final Straw”, Snow Patrol pressed home the advantage on this, their fourth release. Embraced by the adult rock audience, fed on a daily dose of Stereophonics, Travis and the like, their singles enjoyed long periods in the charts and ensured top billing at any festival they cared to play. They’d surely found the popular niche and “Eyes Open” strays little from the blueprint. The lingering indie pop power ballad style with anthemic sing a long chorus’ ensured many a festival fan would be desperately searching for Lighter fluid. Whilst this reviewer has no problem with a band expanding on their skills to gain commercial acceptance, as an artistic piece of work the music seems characterless, staid, and although perfectly acceptable, hardly innovative.

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There are some immediate highlights in the opener and single “You’re All I Have”, the up tempo rocker “Shut Your Eyes”, “It’s Beginning To Get To Me” and the stark closer “Warmer Climate”. Little innovation, just good strong songs. Musically, everything is carried by Gary Lightbody’s vocal melodies, backing guitars and keyboards are directed towards the most perfunctory simplistic chords and in some cases strum or beat out a single note or chord for interminable periods with a hope that the vocal melody will carry the song through. One wishes for a little more reliance on instrumental embellishment, as I feel sure the band are more than adequate musicians. I’ve never yearned for a guitar solo of drum fill where it’s unnecessary, but this album screams out for something different. That said, “Eyes Open” sold strongly, appealing to the fans of “Final Straw”, but one wonders how anyone could consider it in terms of artistic progression.

“Eyes Open” builds on the old adage perfectly, if it works, don’t fix it, and although a solid follow up to “Final Straw”, ultimately breaks little new ground.

6/10

Track Listing
1.”You’re All I Have” 4:33
2.”Hands Open” 3:17
3.”Chasing Cars” 4:28
4.”Shut Your Eyes” 3:17
5.”It’s Beginning to Get to Me” 4:35
6.”You Could Be Happy” 3:04
7.”Make This Go On Forever” 5:47
8.”Set the Fire to the Third Bar” 3:23
9. “Headlights on Dark Roads” 3:30
10.”Open Your Eyes” 5:41
11.”The Finish Line” 3:28

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6 responses to “Snow Patrol – Eyes Open (2006): Review

  1. My brother had a couple of their earlier albums and while they were never really my thing, the Lightbody guy definitely owns a ‘how to write generic hits’ help book. Characterless is a perfect description.

  2. I liked their work on Final straw a lot and I admit that there were some songs on here I just loved but when you notice you’re feeling a bit guilty when you’re enjoying something, you know there’s something wrong. They hid their soul-less-ness well up to this point but I think this is where it all fell apart.

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