CD Reviews: Snow Patrols latest provides sappy goodness |

CD Reviews: Snow Patrols latest provides sappy goodness

Daily staff reportsnewsroom@vaildaily.comEagle County CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

A Hundred Million Suns Geffen2.5 stars of 5Snow Patrol is sappy. Always has been. The band and its latest record, A Hundred Million Suns is saturated with emotionalism that pushes forward its rollicking piano choruses and crash-bang drums.Thing is, Gary Lightbody (actually his name) and his not-so-merry band of musicians are better at being sappy than their peers. Theyre better than The Fray or Coldplay, and they easily could open for U2. If you were trying to score the ending scene of a primetime soap opera set in a hospital, you would use a Snow Patrol song. And A Hundred Million Songs is full of songs perfect for those background-music-while-a-character-acknowledges-the-fragility-of-life moments, from the Goo Goo Dolls sounding Crack the Shutters to the deceptively acoustic Lifeboats to the ballad The Planets Bend Between Us.That syrupy swagger is balanced by Snow Patrols ability to stay buoyant with songs like Take Back the City, an empty but poppy lead single.The songs on A Hundred Million Suns are more polished than the contained fuzz-rock breakouts that occasionally gave dimension to the bands previous records most notably with 2004s Final Straw. Thats replaced here by atmospheric tracks, particularly the 16-minute-long, multi-movement closer, The Lightning Strike. The work is more ambitious than before, but the intent and the affect are the same.Lightbody and his band could keep doing this for decades, and it probably wouldnt ever get old. Everyone has to be a sap sometime. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today

Everything Is Borrowed Vice3 stars of 5Everything Is Borrowed, is Mike Skinners big, gospel-choir praise-fest of the joys of life. Its a huge break for U.K.-based The Streets, Skinners rough-and-tumble hip-hop act previously characterized by his earnest, but depressing and monotone, Birmingham-accented raps.For people who liked The Streets before, this might be bad news. But for those who werent so hot on Skinners laid-bare honesty or just couldnt quite take it seriously, with the janky beats and the slightly bored lyrical style Everything Is Borrowed goes in a well-arranged, R&B-heavy new direction.Sound-wise, the shift seems to come from a newfound confidence and contentment for Skinner, as on the title track, where he speak-sings, Just when they discover the meaning of life they change it/ Just when Im loving life it seems to start raining … Smiling at this blessing, this life is the best.In some cases, Skinners move away from his own narrative and toward social issues doesnt work, as on The Way of the Dodo. Its all less cluttered, with messages and themes that move at a slower pace than anything on Original Pirate Material or The Hardest Way To Make An Easy Living. The lyrical substance is lacking, but Everything Is Borrowed is so much easier to listen to than anything else The Streets has done, the lighter rhymes arent too much of a sacrifice. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today

David Archuleta JiveWhy do American Idol fans consistently reward male pop singers for being entirely sexless on the show? Pouty lips and flirty lashes are practically entrance requirements for female singers, and rocker guys can bellow and strut to their content. But theres a kind of elfish contestant who always does well despite the possibility of vanishing in a cloud of unicorn glitter were he to sing something arousing.Which brings us to the curious case of David Archuletas debut album. Its an exacting distillation of a 13-year-old girls wholesome romantic aspirations as imagined by 50-year-old label reps. Yet the show revealed that image is actually true to Archuletas personality (albeit, one creepily stage-managed by his dad). Its as if Archuletas influences as a singer were solely previous Idol contestants, and hes a blank screen for viewers to project onto via millions of speed-dialed votes.Archuleta has one magisterial single, Crush, that will smother all who encounter it with the refinement of its craft. But the record is larded with awkward modernist R&B, Christian semaphore ballads like You Can and warm-milk mewling that makes David Cook, Archuletas Idol foe, sound like Robert Plant.The best teen pop is often code for exploring more dangerous ideas, yet Archuleta counts Tamyra Gray and Kelly Clarkson as influences in his liner notes. Kids deserve more salacious pandering than that. August Brown, L.A. Times-Washington Post

Support Local Journalism