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Intersection of Life and Faith

Snow Patrol building on Fallen Empires

  • Chad Estes TheFish.com Contributing Writer
  • 2012 16 Jan
Snow Patrol building on <i>Fallen Empires</i>

Artist: Snow Patrol

Title: Fallen Empires

Label: Island/Fiction

From the opening beats of Snow Patrols new album Fallen Empires you know you are being taken on a journey. Music and lyrics by Gary Lightbody are the vehicle and fuel to travel back - not to a place, but to the people that helped form the lead singer's life.

In their sixth album Lightbody penned a song as a tribute to his Irish father, "Lifening," that describes all that his dad ever wanted in life - "Ireland in the World Cup/either North or South/the Fanclub on the Jukebox/the birds and yes the bees." Llighbody ends the song sharing his own desire from life - "To share what I've been given/some kids eventually/and be for them what I've had/A father like my dad."

Lightbody also writes a beautiful ballad with piano and strings to the first girl he fell in love with, called "The Garden Rules." It is a look at the pure love that can come from innocent hearts in childhood. He admits it is his favorite song on the record.

When he suffered from a bit of a writer's block with this album, Lightfoot took some time of reflection, "I've realized that you've got to make your home with the people you're with rather than the place you are because in a band you're rarely in the same place. I managed to get to the heart of the matter — that this record is about home, the empire of childhood and the naivety of that falling away into adulthood and forgetting how blissful it is as a kid. Once I got to that I could write again."

Even though the songs journey back the music itself is a leap forward. Several songs include new, electronic dance beats that are sure to get DJ's attentions at the clubs. This isn't to say that Snow Patrol has moved away from their memorable, pounding rock anthems. The song "Fallen Empires" builds anticipation through a strong repeating beat and then the whisper of "We are the Light!" grows into a great, moving, hopeful crescendo.

If this album is the reflection of the band's midlife crisis we should pay attention. Looking back to see what really matters in life; taking time to respond to the pain in the lives of those around you; determining to be real about diminished dreams and yet be hopeful - these  are positive ways to build on the empires that didn't survive.

Fallen Empires may not produce the same amount of hits as other Snow Patrol albums, but it is one that will be remembered and loved. 

*This article first published 1/16/2012

**Listen to this album on Spotify