Written By: Sebastian Barnum
Label: Fiction/Geffen – Rating:
Two disc albums have a tendency to be fantastic achievements. From Led Zeppelin’s “Physical Graffiti” and Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” to “Quadrophenia” by the Who, it is an almost undeniable fact, that if an artist doesn’t limit their creativity by letting it go over the one disc standard, the music tends to be greater.
The case is no different with Snow Patrol’s newest album “Up To Now.” Granted it is simply a compilation of SP’s hits, so it should not be considered a work on its own. But a listener is still taken through a journey, one that takes us through Snow Patrol’s musical chaos, composure, and creativity over the last 15 years.
As Irish rockers who have a way to be subtle and all over at the same time, Snow Patrol has constantly been compared to the likes of U2 and Coldplay. Although SP doesn’t quite have that level of fame yet, they continue to carry the atmosphere of soft melancholy heart strings, set at a surprisingly upbeat tempo. Having sold over 10 million albums worldwide, you cannot deny that they have earned the right to make a greatest hits album, unlike many who just use a “Greatest Hits” album to instigate a tour and pay off a mortgage.
The album seems to mostly revolve around SP’s biggest hit, but that doesn’t steal away from the complexity and vastness of the rest of the songs. Gary Lightbody seems to have a soft sweet Belle and Sebastian feeling to his vocals, which perfectly iterate the sweeping sadness that grows to feel fragile and almost privet. But 30 songs of soft and pretty rock chords make even the softest of hideaways a tad bit claustrophobic.
The album relies on mostly works that came after 2004. Not to say that they weren’t good before then, however with a “Hits” collection, you can only expect radio jingles, and the songs a teenage girl might listen to get over her breakup. If you are a die-hard fan, you should already have Snow Patrols albums, so the compilation album shouldn’t really sound that tantalizing to you. However for most others, who have heard only a few songs, or only heard the songs in your friend’s car on the way to get some Taco Bell at 2 am, this is a great album. Easily the best way to get to know the band, without actually seeing them live, and a great set of music. 3 out of 4 guns.