Snow Patrol - Final Straw
As the title of their third album suggests, Snow Patrol are more than a little frustrated by their failure so far to match critical praise with commercial success. Well, if Final Straw doesn't change that, nothing will - it's not just streets ahead of its predecessors, it's a strong contender for Irish album of the year. Perhaps it's all down to the influence of the Reindeer Section, the supergroup side-project that seems to have given frontman Gary Lightbody a welcome injection of confidence. Or maybe it's the influence of new producer Jackknife Lee, who's skilfully added some spiky guitar beats and samples to the band's indie-rock template. Whatever the reason, their wispy fragility of old has gone - to be replaced by a stylish swagger that propels these gorgeously melancholic songs into something approaching epic status. A real breakthrough - let's just hope that the great record-buying public are prepared to listen.
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