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Yet another leap forward

Snow Patrol - Eyes Open
4 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: June 26, 2006
Snow Patrol

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Even though the group had been together nearly a decade, Snow Patrol didn't experience its true breakthrough until 2003's Final Straw (Polydor/Fiction). The disc saw the single "Run" racing up the charts, a tour with U2 across Europe and Live 8 performances in both Hyde Park and Scotland. But unlike most bands who crack under the pressure of the spotlight or allow egos to run wild, this quintet seems to have kept their feet on the ground and their hearts locked on the music. For its latest LP Eyes Open, members took residence in the somewhat unlikely quarters of a small cottage in Dingle (on the west coast of Ireland) to set up shop where Kate Bush once recorded.

Though Snow Patrol sounds nothing like the ethereal angel, the band does share a commitment to quality with Bush, taking dashes of former tour mates U2, the Brit-rock swagger of Oasis and its own melodic tendencies to entrancing heights. Considering Final Straw was the outfit's first major push throughout international turf, Eyes Open could very well be considered a sophomore project, though it by no means enters into a slump, rather building upon the strengths of the last effort and demonstrating a steady evolution. "You're All I Have" is just as charming as it is motivating, ramping up with meaty harmonies and thick instrumental swells without ever sounding self-indulgent. The much more subdued "Chasing Cars" begins in sublime beauty, only to build with significance and the ever so slight presence of orchestration.

"Beginning To Get To Me" could be compared to Coldplay's overwhelmingly popular "Clocks" motif, minus the central presence of pounding pianos in favor of more deafening percussion. The ivories are much more obvious throughout the ballad "Make This Go On Forever," hearkening back to the unfortunately overlooked days of Travis, sparked by front man Gary Lightbody's gentle glow and a backing choir of equally tender voices. Given all these examples and the rest of the record's continued pattern of growth, Snow Patrol achieves the rare balance between borrowing from much lauded influences, branching out with its own ideas and taking yet another leap forward without falling prey to usual protocol.

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