Fallen Empires

Snow Patrol are known for songs so swooningly sensitive they can make Coldplay sound like the Sex Pistols. Now, perhaps inspired by the U.K.'s dubstep craze, they've added a few dance beats to their beige guitar anthems. It's a strange move but done tastefully; the title track's terse, frantic pulse is a welcome change of pace. Otherwise, Snow Patrol fall back to the blandly inoffensive safe zone – though at least they sound a little brighter: Much of Fallen Empires is a guardedly optimistic list of singer Gary Lightbody's aspirations, from pensive road trips in which "the engine's more a sigh than a scream" to World Cup glory for his Irish countrymen.

Listen to "Life-ning":

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