Snow Patrol/Up To Now [Disc One]

Up To Now is the first compilation from Alt-Rock band Snow Patrol. Featuring tracks that span the 15 years career of the band, vocalist Gary Lightbody insists the release is not a greatest hits release but rather a reflection of what we have done till now and that we are looking forward to the next 15 years. This compilation, a double disc, also features tracks from the Scottish supergroup The Reindeer Section as well as three new tracks.

Disc One:

Chocolate—-One of the premier tracks that let me know at first listen that this band was indeed special, the lyrics are insightful and intense…the vocal clear and tender. the instrumentation is a huge affair that gives the band body and meaning. This is perfect pop music for a lonely guy seeking insight and introspection.

Chasing Cars—-allowing both introspection and a huge stadium sound, the band cashed in big with this soundtrack song from TV’s Grey’s Anatomy. A tender and insightful spout on the travails of love or the lack there of, the song was a huge radio and video hit for the band. featuring beautiful swirling string instrumentation and exquisite lyrics, this is classic Snow Patrol.

Crack The Shutters—-Piano based from the onset, the charming Scottish accent of Lightbody makes the song special. This is beautifully landscaped with gentle sounds and a chorus that opens up the song to a stadium full of lovers. Lightbody manages to take these huge sounding songs and give them an intimacy that is inescapable. Wonderful!!!

Set The Fire To The Third Bar [Featuring Martha Wainwright]—-One of the most un-appreciated duets of the new millenium, Lightbody and Wainwright produce a landscape that makes your heart ache and tears jump to your eyes. Combining two voices that are so contrasting, the band manages to create a sun/snow landscape that conveys majestic mountains and beautiful skies. this is a masterpiece….if you have not heard this, YouTube it. You will be impressed.

Crazy In Love—-Yes indeed…this is a cover of Beyoncé!!!! This is done with flair and fun….you must hear this. This is masterful and fantastic. This is a brilliant and workable cover that should shock numerous fans….there is nothing bad or cheesy about this..I am so impressed right now!!! A++++

Just Say Yes—-Again, combining all the elements of the and that the mass public find appealing, the voice is sedate and intricate but stadium sized. This is a tender and introspective song that opens up with a U2 inspired guitar sound that makes you wonder if all the great stadium bands come from overseas. this is beautifully crafted and well delivered. I love this mans voice…I return to this band over and over.

Batten Down the Hatch—-Layered and textured, this is a song from Scottish supergroup The Reindeer Section….although the voice is familiar, the sound is smooth and relaxed…textured and full of emotion. These release, there are two full length releases, are wonderful. You must check them out. The female backdrop of St. Etienne adds much to the song.

You’re All I Have—-Bombastic and full of the trademark sound of the band, I can only imagine how a huge arena would come to life upon the introduction to this son. the exquisite accent of Lightbody is intact, the backdrop of the bands voices play well and the guitars are a huge wall of sound. the drums ar in your face and propels the song at an incredible pace. This is fantastic!!!

Hands Open—-With huge sounds and a bombastic drum track, the vocal of Lightbody is much more aggressive and forceful. it is nice to hear the band display the balls out rock sound that they are capable of. this is huge and emotional song that looses none of its impact despite the rockier feel of the track!!!

Cartwheels—-Another song from the Reindeer Section, this is exquisite layered pop that just melts your heart. this is the best that Scotland has to offer and unfortunate for many this was missed in the realm of popular music. This is brilliant…you can find these two releases on Amazon….if you do not love them, I will give you your money back!!!

The Planets Bend Between Us—-The most pleasing thing for me about this track is the wonderful accent and the gentle yet forceful musical delivery. somehow this band manages to get under your skin with the tenderness and emotional quality of the song and at the same time keeps it from becoming a slow and sad dirge…this is music that makes you think but gives you goosebumps at the same time…the sadness never settles on your head..instead you think and progress. This is magic.

Ask Me How I Am—-Not a favorite track of mine…this is a bit to electronic based for the frame of mind that this release puts you in. the voice is as always something of awe and wonderment. the music lacks a strong guitar presence and the drum track is really lacking. Not bad, but something I skip over.

On/Off—-Beginning with an odd muted sound, the voice is even a bit muted…I wait for the song to open up and give us a nice treat….this never really happens, but the song does gain some life and body. this is very sedate and leans on the depressing. The voice is what saves this from being run of the mill Scot Rock.

Making Enemies—-again, the band experiments with some electronic sounds that mess with your perception of what you have heard so far. This is nice though!!! I really like this…not really sure of the origin of this track, I need to go back and research this because iIlove the ambient sound of the works really well. Wonderfully displayed, the voice is pushed to the back and the slipping style of the upfront music is a perfect partner.

Run [Mencap Little Noise Sessions, Live At The Union Chapel]—-This is incredible!!!! Giving a new sound to the most powerful song the band has recorded, the band allows horns, strings and instrumentation that will make your skin break out in the largest goosebumps of your life. this is literally fantastic. The song is stripped and minimal, but looses none of the intricate and emotional qualities. Lightbody only proves to the world that he can emote regardless of the backdrop. This is magical!!!

***** out of 5


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