To say that Snow Patrol found their voice on their fourth album—specifically, the record’s breakout single “Chasing Cars”—would be an understatement. The band’s follow-up, A Hundred Million Suns, aims to recapture the success of that hit and finds the Scottish quintet continuing to hone the sound they introduced on 2003’s Final Straw. The album opens with the evocative but ambiguous lyric, “Two weeks later like a surplus reprieve/I found a hair the length of yours on my sleeve”; the metaphoric piece of leftover DNA reveals itself to be a good thing, as most of Suns, unlike Snow Patrol’s previous two releases, focuses on the giddy start of a relationship rather than its end. Songs like “Crack the Shutters” feature the band’s signature soaring choruses and bursting guitar hooks, but lead singer Gary Lightbody’s newfound romantic elation swaths too much of the album in a glaze of saccharine poignancy: “Happy lost in your hair/And the cold side of the pillow” he sings. When Lightbody starts to fear that something perfect might soon change or end, as he does on “What If This Storm Ends?,” the brass-and-choir-fueled first movement of the album’s epic three-part closer “The Lightning Strike,” or when he laments long-lost friendships on the nostalgic and rueful “Please Just Take These Photos from My Hands,” he really hits his stride. The latter is particularly immediate—the stuff of which hits, like “Chasing Cars,” are made. Unfortunately, the album’s knee-deep-in-the-hoopla Starship-esque lead single, “Take Back the City,” is completely misrepresentative of both Snow Patrol and Suns.
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