Credit: Simon Lipman at European Space Agency (ESA).
Over a two-decade career, Snow Patrol has carved out a unique place for themselves. Their melancholy anthems of heartbreak and separation have mended hearts, and the band has racked up an impressive number of critical and commercial accolades, including 15 million global album sales, 1+ billion global track streams, 5 UK Platinum Albums, and are Grammy, BRIT Award and Mercury Music Prize nominated.
In 2012, after touring the world for their album Fallen Empires, band members — guitarist/vocalist Gary Lightbody, multi-instrumentalist Johnny McDaid, guitarist Nathan Connolly, bassist Paul Wilson, and drummer Jonny Quinn — decided to stop for a while. “We were exhausted at the end of the tour,” says Lightbody. “We went from album to tour for 10 years. We needed to take a break.” In the interim, all the members worked on numerous side projects.
In this time of reflection, Gary came to the realisation of his writing style: “I’d been writing songs for years about love. Mostly the end of love, to be honest. And I just knew that this album had to be something different. I had to look both deeper inside myself and out into the wider world around me, and both seemed to be in chaos.”
Looking deeper is what he did for Snow Patrol’s seventh album. Titled Wildness, it taps into something raw and primitive.
Earlier albums, Gary says, “only presented questions. This album tries to have some answers. I actually tried to figure out why I was unhappy, why I feel out of place, why I’m afraid.” The result is a record unlike anything Snow Patrol had released in its 24-year career. The rest of the band members rose to the occasion. “Everyone played out of their fricking skin on this record. The drums are just incredible. At certain points everybody did things that they’d never done before,” says Lightbody.
“Sometimes you write with inspiration and you look back on it in five years and think, ‘I wish I’d put more time into that," Lightbody says. “Sometimes it takes you five years to write the thing. Like now. And you know for sure when you finish an album like that everything makes sense, and I bet you I’m never not proud of this record.”