Quite possibly, pretty much all of Music’s greatest disasters are due to bands who think they are producing ‘art’. There is nothing wrong with carefully crafted, purposeful music, but 4 and half million albums (see Eyes Open) can give a man a lot of misplaced confidence. A Hundred Million Suns isn’t a completely awful album, but it sure isn’t galactic, as the overly-ambitious title suggests. All that remains is the feeling of being a little cheated.
At times in A Hundred… Snow Patrol seems a bit afraid to be Snow Patrol. Back in the day, you listened to them for their gloriously rousing pop-rock choruses, but they seem rather absent here. Lightbody’s vocals are still starry-eyed and whispery in the album’s softer points, but a large proportion of the time the ‘Patrol are content being neither tender nor epic.
There are nods towards some greater experimental goal, a bit of a drone here, a few processed beats there, but these are pretty much absent from the main body of the music. This is no Kid A, and once they’re gone, you’re just left with more four-square Coldplay-by-numbers.
Every so often, Snow Patrol do manage to breath out and embrace the loveliness of their older songs, with heart-warming results, such as on ‘Crack the Shutters’ but these are rare moments whilst the rest seems to be happy going nowhere special. Similarly, the clichéd and unimaginative lyrics do little to raise the game of the album, helping to drag it further towards the middle of the road.
Whilst it has its moments, A Hundred Million Suns feels a little like a mid-life crisis in an album. The Alternative became the mainstream, and now it doesn’t quite know what to do with itself.
In conclusion: Occasionally sparkly, however inconsistent and unfortunately rather forgettable.