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the pathetic caverns - music by artist - Snow Patrol

eclectic reviews and opinions

Snow Patrol

Eyes Open

(A&M/Fiction, 2006)

Eyes Open may not technically be a "concept album," but it's very closely knit, with recurring images of hands, hearts, and eyes, both open and closed. Gary Lightbody sings in the voice of a man who refuses to acknowledge the inevitability of an impending breakup. Many of the lyrics are banal and unspecific ("I've gotta see you one last night," "I don't quite know how to say how I feel," "It's so clear now that you are all that I have") which is a shame, since other lines ("It's hard to argue when you won't stop making sense," "Put Sufjan Stevens on, and we'll play your favorite song,") suggest that the Snow Patrol is capable of writing with more personality than the indie rock equivalent of Dan Fogelberg -- which is how they sometimes come off. Most of Eyes Open's songs are slow to mid-tempo. Several of them start quietly, with just voice and a single guitar or piano, and build toward a cathartic crescendo. The glossy, big-budget production doesn't always serve these songs well; it smooths out the dynamics and robs them of some of the impact they might otherwise possess. My own favorite is the closing "Finish Line," which opens with the narrator lying on the ground outside at night, perhaps drunk, listening to insect sounds. It's less bombastic than the rest of the album, and it feels more personal and authentic.

This review originally appeared at Avoid Peril.

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