Fallen Empires

Fallen Empires

The songs on Snow Patrol’s sixth studio album didn’t come easy. While working on Fallen Empires, frontman Gary Lightbody grappled with writer’s block (which R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe helped him overcome). Still, you’d be hard-pressed to tell this from the flowing opener, “I'll Never Let Go”—a winsome tune with a pulsing, Vangelis-inspired intro that reveals a move toward classic electro flourishes. By the chorus of the cool “Called Out in the Dark,” it’s evident that Snow Patrol is embracing a change in sound. With guitars upstaged by icy synthesizers, disco-tinged grooves, and sequenced beats, melancholy never sounded so smooth—especially when the chorus unfolds. The gradually ascending title track builds layers of acoustic trill with fluttering orchestration, but it’s the powerful “New York” that proves to be the album’s standout.

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