Snow Patrol - Up to Now
But then they were dropped by their indie label in 2001 and became a sought after acquisition for major labels. With the majors come bigger aspirations, bigger audiences and what was once a well-kept Irish secret is now a stadium-sized band with songs of epic soundscapes that you've probably heard in a number of TV shows and soft focus sex scenes.
Its also a good reason why Snow Patrol's first ever best of compilation is treated to the full-on double-disc treatment, that works as both an unimpeachable retrospective of their intriguing career, while offering most fans (aka – those who only really know the 'hits') a glimpse into the hitherto unheard of gems from their past and present.
Chief among those special nuggets is "Set Fire to the Third Bar" taken from the album Eyes Open
. The duet with Martha Wainwright, whose high, brittle voice perfectly complements Gary Lightbody's sweet, sullen undercurrent of a voice is sparse and dramatic and is also one of the best duets of the past decade. It's also encouraging that the band (or record company) is well aware of the worth of this song, which is placed fourth on the first disc.
The rest of the very generous offering is arranged with little fuss. Little-known Reindeer Section track "Cartwheels" sits contentedly alongside "Hands Open", "You're All I Have" from Eyes Open and "Ask me How I Am" from 2001 album When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up. If you thought you knew Snow Patrol, this compilation will prove to you that perhaps you did not. Sure their post-2005 output has attracted more Coldplay-lite comparisons than they would've liked, but even a chart-topping hit like "Hands Open" snakes in the line "Put Sufjan Stevens on, and we'll play your favourite song" to keep its credibility intact.
They might not be the most iconic lot of lads (would you be able to pick lead singer Lightbody out of a line-up?) but what they lack in stature they certainly make up for with ample Irish charm, which South African audiences were privy to during their MyCokeFest appearances this year. And say what you will about the ubiquity of songs such "Open Your Eyes", "Run" and "Crack the Shutters" (they sure do love their active verbs) they have come to define the romance, optimism and earnestness of the noughties pop-rock sound – and Snow Patrol always seemed to be a part and parcel of that quiet movement.
Many Snow Patrol fans may not know this, but the Irish band did not spring up out of nowhere when their huge hit "Chasing Cars" played in the memorable season 2 finale of Grey's Anatomy. In fact, they'd been around for at least 10 years prior to that, had toured the world, spawned a supergroup side project band called The Reindeer Section and entrenched themselves in the UK indie rock scene.
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