Disclaimer: This is not a new album. Snow Patrol released two albums on Jeepster Records before the label dropped them and they went on to sell millions. A decade later, the label has put out a compilation of songs from those records, Songs for Polarbears and When Itâ€™s All Over We Still Have to Clear Up. This album, vaguely called Snow Patrol, is a blatant money-grab.
Those two albums were melodic but chaotic, drawing influence from Super Furry Animals as much as Sebadoh. What Jeepsterâ€™s done here is sell these albums short by picking almost exclusively slow, quiet songs, which makes the first half of Snow Patrol lull. This pacing isnâ€™t an issue on Songs for Polarbears or When Itâ€™s All Over. To sweeten the pot and compel fans to buy this, the labelâ€™s thrown in two previously unreleased tracks, â€œSanta Mariaâ€ and â€œEven Touching Dundee.â€ Theyâ€™re okay but not as great as the album tracks, and theyâ€™re not worth the price of buying Snow Patrol just to get those.
Having said all that, the songs themselves deserve appreciation. You wonâ€™t find anything like â€œChasing Carsâ€ here, but instead the more fractured aspects of relationships and longing. Opener â€œAn Olive Grove Facing the Seaâ€ is a gorgeous, trumpet-infused plea to end the loneliness, while â€œFifteen Minutes Oldâ€ is an ode to a newly born child. â€œOne Night is Not Enoughâ€ expresses the frustration of being used, while â€œWhen Itâ€™s All Over We Still Have to Clear Upâ€ clatters into distortion and contrasts the calm of vocalist Gary Lightbodyâ€™s voice with his rage at a new man in his loveâ€™s life.
My recommendation is to buy Snow Patrolâ€™s first two albums rather than this. Youâ€™ll get far more songs, and someone will have bothered to put them in a decent order. If you want an intro to their old stuff, you could try this, but embrace the shuffle button.