Snow Patrol

Final Straw

Scotland’s Snow Patrol has made a perfect collection of perfectly recorded and produced tunes that each sound like a different perfect song that’s already been done perfectly by someone else. Which makes sense—lead singer/songwriter Gary Lightbody’s other band, Reindeer Section, is stacked with a variety of Scottish indie superstars from bands like Teenage Fanclub, Mogwai and Belle & Sebastian, and this songwriting sponge is also admittedly heavily influenced by such prolific American indie rockers as Sebadoh and the Pixies. The opener, “How to Be Dead,” has a vocal cadence and tone that exactly copy Semisonic’s catchy “Closing Time”; the grainy distorted guitar melody and spiky rhythm of “Ways & Means” is nearly identical to Blur’s “Beatlebum”; and “Tiny Little Fractures,” with its propulsive fuzz-bass and slack vocal delivery, is the only time the band ever actually succeeds at creating what sounds like the “lusciously produced ode to Sebadoh” that Spin magazine proclaimed Final Straw to be. (It actually feels more like an ode to Coldplay.) Despite all the deriving going on, Snow Patrol’s third album is actually an excellent, catchy and very pretty recording. Perfect.