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Album review: Snow Patrol's 'A Hundred Million Suns'

October 28, 2008 |  5:30 pm

Snowpatrol There aren't many songwriters who capture the vulnerability and humor of being stupid in love as masterfully as Snow Patrol singer and main songwriter Gary Lightbody. “I’m shaken then I’m still / When your eyes meet mine I lose simple skills,” he sings in “Set Down Your Glass,” a gently unfurling hymn to human connection.

Lightbody’s fascination with the insular world of lovers is at the heart of his band’s “A Hundred Million Suns.” In fact, the opening tracks, “If There’s a Rocket Tie Me to It” and “Crack the Shutters,” seem deliberately placed as reassuring entry points for those fans who connected in a big way with the heart-on-sleeve emotionalism of 2006’s hit “Chasing Cars.”

But the frontman takes some steps outside that private world, too. “Lifeboats,” “The Golden Floor” and “The Planets Bend Between Us” trade modern rock’s ADD rhythms for walking tempos that leave more space to ponder the delights and perils of human bonding. In “Please Just Take These Photos From My Hands,” Lightbody touches on the danger of getting caught up in imagination, asking, “When all this actual life played out / Where the hell on Earth was I?” realizing too late the toll of sacrificing true presence in the moment.

The album’s closer, the 16-minute, three-movement pop epic “The Lightning Strike,” plays with repetitive minimalism and pop accessibility. It charts the stages that love can travel, — fear and risk, comfort and security, liberation and transcendence.

--Randy Lewis

Snow Patrol
"A Hundred Million Suns"
Geffen
3 stars

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