An album packed full of painfully raw emotions, beautiful vocals, and hopeful messages. Snow Patrol cut open their heart for us and show us exactly what they’ve been doing these past seven years.
Snow Patrol are back after a seven-year-long break with their new release Wildness, a highly anticipated LP that will be the seventh studio album under the band’s belt. Wildness aims to explore the “primal, alive, and beautiful” that can be found in both nature and humanity. They grapple with this whilst simultaneously searching for clarity within the world as they return to the scene, unafraid to tackle some of the bigger issues at hand. If this wasn’t enough, vocalist Gary Lightbody also delves deep into his own personal life in a relatable and sometimes heart-wrenching way.
The first single Life on Earth slowly eases us into their new sound. With slow guitar and lonely vocals that begin in a calm and melodic way, it then increases to a more intense and powerful chorus in which we are promised that “this is something else”. The soul-searching lyrics set up the rest of the album to focus on the world – the search for meaning in life – as we sit back and let it all wash over us. The song fades to black.
With a passionate and convincing delivery, Heal Me bursts through the seams and gives us a touching, upbeat love song about affection, dedication, and thanks. This one is a personal favourite of mine. We hear Lightbody calling out for help and lamenting over past relationships in which he has experienced heartbreak, before claiming that in a new love he has found his “home”. It’s a classic anthem, dominated by Lightbody’s joyous vocals. I can already picture it being played in the sold-out stadiums to rows upon rows of fans, waving their phones in the air, torches alight, while they belt out the optimistic lyrics in time with the band. That’s a crowd that I want to be a part of.
A highlight of the album is Empress which enchants you instantly with runaway vocals and drumbeats that make you imagine you’re in the finale of a film, where everything has fallen perfectly into place. The lyrics are heartfelt and hopeful and, as you listen closely, you begin to understand the real-world issues that must have been the motive behind this song. Empress begins “you’re angry but you don’t know how to be that yet”, which plays upon the feelings of those who are witnesses to the awful acts that are taking place in the world but are unsure about how they should respond in order to make a change. Furthermore, “resistance seems impossible from down this low” plays with feelings of powerlessness than an individual might feel when facing a greater force. From here, the song emphasises the ability that humans have to join together despite these differences to make a positive change. This is the song we need during times of political unease like these. It gives the listener a soft but powerful reminder of human connection, community, and unity, as well as demonstrating the beauty that can come when humankind works together.
The eighth track Soon hits a deeply personal note for Lightbody as the song deals with his relationship with his father who suffers from Dementia. A 30-second instrumental build up quickly and peaks in an intensely moving clash of instruments that steals the heart of the entire song. While it’s easy to get lost amongst the vocals and instruments, it is humbling to realise the amount of emotional labour that must have gone into creating this track for Lightbody. After all, he is not just working from a creative viewpoint, but from his own reality, and this makes the track one of the most compelling on the entire album.
The final track on the album is Life and Death brings us full circle. After promising to deliver “something else” in the opening track of Wildness, the question is, do they? Overall, I’d say that Wildness is not too dissimilar from their previous albums, so fans will not experience anything that far from their expectations. While songs such as Wild Horses may seem slightly anti-climactic when compared to other material on the album, Wildness is, nonetheless, packed full of stirring, heartbreaking, and soul-searching songs that I’m sure will both excite and devastate. The famous melodic beauty of their music is recognisable and timeless, and the assembly of instruments along with the poignant vocals remind us of just why they had such success in the past and, I’m sure, will again with the release of this album.
Wildness is raw, alive, and beautifully composed, and Snow Patrol should be congratulated for their glorious return. They are unafraid to open their hearts to us, and ultimately, we take away the message of compassion and human unity.