From the opening track ’I’ll Never Let Go’ to closing track ‘Broken Bottles From a Star’, Snow Patrol’s Fallen Empires never seems to get off the ground. Don’t get me wrong, for the Snow Patrol fan, this album is going to be one for your collection, but it doesn’t earn more than a passing listen from me.
‘I’ll Never Let Go’ starts off slow, entails a lot of buildup and never really pushes to a conclusion or climax. The chorus sounds slightly off-key also.
‘Called Out in the Dark’ and ‘The Weight of Love’ are much the same – both are very slow moving songs, and while ‘okay’ are unremarkable.
‘This Isn’t Everything You Are’ holds promise as it starts out sweeping and epic, but by the time it reached its conclusion, the only thought I had about it was how much it reminded me of listening to a movie Soundtrack. In fact, the entire album has that feel to it.
‘The Garden Rules’ at least is broken up by some nice piano and a duet with a female vocalist which adds texture, but still comes across as something you would hear in an elevator or ‘safe’ music for the office. It’s not until we reach Track 6 – the title track, ‘Fallen Empires’ that it perks up from dirge tempo to something even remotely resembling more than adult alternative mood music. However, the excitement is short lived. As much as I’m waiting for something to happen as the song builds.. after a full five minutes, it never does.
Berlin is an interesting track. Vocals with no actual words. It’s bubbly and effervescent and one of the few tracks that catches my attention at this point.
Lifening is mundane – the chorus “this is all I ever wanted from life” is repeated over and over to the end of the song. ‘New York’ is grand and sweeping in sound but the lyrics leave me flat, as does ‘In the End’.
Those Distant Bells, The Symphony, The President, and Broken Bottles From A Star round out this 14 track album.
Overall, this album is two or three tracks too long and I had the feeling the entire time that I was waiting for something to happen, anything… the songs would build and build and no release, no variation in tone or texture – almost like the chorus or bridge of each song was missing… almost like listening to a monotone rendition of someone reading poetry set to music. The songs will be great for background music at your dinner party, but chances are you won’t be singing to them, bopping to them while driving, or even remembering them a week from now.