Snow Patrol Final Straw

There’s a certain sympathy one must feel for Scotland’s Snow Patrol. They’re a friendly, uplifting bunch that mean well, yet fail to get it right with each record by choosing to play it "cool” instead of safe. The end result is derivative, guitar-heavy indie pop rock, candy-coated in quirkiness that doesn’t fool many ears. Their 2001 album, When It’s All Over We Still Have to Clear Up, came close to a classic status, missing the mark in the end because of its inability to, ahem, keep it up till the very end. Final Straw, unfortunately, doesn’t fare any better. Seeing the band move from the wee indie label Jeepster to the major Universal conglomerate was surprising, but at the same time, this album sounds like it’s been tweaked for the suits. Produced by dance guru Jack Knife Lee (aka Garrett Lee, who’s worked with Basement Jaxx and TLC), Final Straw finds Snow Patrol using opportunities while their still knocking. Providing a lavish and overconfident backdrop (which includes occasionally misplaced dance beats), Lee has ruined any chance of Snow Patrol bettering themselves. They show signs of sentimental glory in "Run” and have crafted a poptastic single in "Spitting Games,” but in the end, it’s too late to make up for the album’s numerous weaknesses. After three albums of not reaching their potential, maybe this really is the final straw for Snow Patrol. (Polydor)