Album Remarks & Appraisals:
2009 reissue of the expanded edition of the Scottish band' debut album including nine bonus tracks. Originally released in 1998, Songs For Polarbears introduced the world to this extremely talented band who would dominate the UK and European charts over the following decade. Led by guitarist/vocalist and songwriter Gary Lightbody, Snow Patrol had all the right pieces in place by the time they released their debut album but it took a few years for the rest of the world to catch on. The band continues to go from strength to strength with every release. Includes 'Velocity Girl', 'Absolute Gravity', 'One Hundred Things You Should Have Done In Bed', 'Starfighter Pilot' and more. Jeepster.
Rolling Stone (12/9/99, p.78) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...suggests what those milque-toast modern-rock radio bands might sound like if they could write piercingly simple, declarative melodies....moments of austere beauty..."
Snow Patrol: Gary Lightbody (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Mark McClelland (keyboards, bass); Jonny Quinn (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Fraser Simpson (guitar); Richard Colburn (keyboards, drums); Tom Simpson (DJ); Isobel Campbell (background vocals).
Recorded at Chamber Studios, Edinburgh, Scotland.
Personnel: Gary Lightbody (vocals, guitars); Mark McClelland (keyboards); Jonny Quinn (drums).
Recording information: Chamber Studios, Edinburgh.
Photographers: Rebecca Gray; Mark McClelland.
The late '90s found Scotland once again flying the indie-pop flag abandoned by the U.S. scene, and the one of the groups that followed in the footsteps of Belle & Sebastian, the Delgados, and Urusei Yatsura was a quartet of expat Irishmen called Snow Patrol. The group's debut full-length release, SONGS FOR POLARBEARS, is a fun collection of melodious three-chord indie-rock nuggets of noise, given context by Gary Lightbody's second-generation slack vocals and peppered with Tom Simpson's rhythm-inducing record-scratching.
Tracks like the new wave-friendly "Starfighter Pilot," the loud and thorny breakup rant "Get Balsamic Vinegar...Quick You Fool," and the soft, lazily yearning "Velocity Girl" expertly take their cues and references from the Americans who had defined this sound in the preceding past decade (Pixies, Pavement, Sonic Youth). But Simpson's nimble DJ-ing skill--scratches that reinforce the music's forward motion, samples that reiterate song points--clearly illustrate that Snow Patrol is going with the evolutionary flow rather than living in an indie nirvana circa 1994. SONGS FOR POLARBEARS boasts sonic joys aplenty.