Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Snow Patrol
‘Songs For Polarbears’

Sometimes, no matter how good the original blueprint, quality is going to lost as a consequence. While many bands have taken the Pixies/Girls Against Boys formula, added their own twist, and made it their own, at times it can sound just that bit too contrived. A narrow line exists between reinvention and rehash, and despite Snow Patrol's obvious good intentions, they stumble along that line for a while, then lose their footing and tumble in the wrong direction altogether.

More than anything else, 'Songs For Polarbears' is a frustrating and disappointing listen, because the potential is there, as rather ironically proved by album opener 'Downhill From Here'. Sounding like Magoo with the treble turned off during a particularly severe world helium shortage, Snow Patrol quite happily lurch through their choppy chord changes, but when the buzzing squealing guitars arrive, they bury them more quickly than the victims of a fatal dose of dysentery at the height of summer. Then just as you expect the guitar mangling to start, instead of running their instruments through the shredder, they simply hand them to the roadie and ask to chip a piece out of the fretboard with his chisel, an interesting idea in itself, but just not that compelling after the third listen.

Elsewhere, Snow Patrol opt for the acoustic approach, and they are magically transformed into the Warm Jets, though that will be the Warm Jets with all the edges sanded down, the soaring choruses replaced with another pedestrian chord change, until eventually all you can do is hope that they find a couple of Guided By Voices records before returning to the studio.

In the end you can't help but feel sorry for the polar bears, not only are they continually being hassled by evil marketing men trying to coerce them into yet another overly sentimental Coca-Cola advert, the only time someone cares enough to write an album for them, this is all they get.