Music News

Snowed In

Snow Patrol's third album, Final Straw, helped the U.K. band explode abroad in 2004, and the members are hoping that their latest, Eyes Open, will firmly establish them here in the States. Whether they acknowledge the comparisons or not, however, they've been dogged by the success of Coldplay ever since Parachutes became a worldwide phenomenon -- despite the fact that Snow Patrol's debut dropped a year earlier. Keyboardist Tom Simpson blames the association squarely on lazy journalists.

Westword: How are you handling the touring regimen that's accompanied the release of the new album, Eyes Open?

Tom Simpson: I tell you what, when you don't get home, at least as much as we do, then spending time with your family is a real treat these days. It's like the French Foreign Legion, but hopefully a little more enjoyable than that.

What did Snow Patrol take away from touring with U2 last year?

We thought we were doing quite well and doing a lot of big shows in the U.K., and then we go out and do a small tour with them and we're like, they're so far ahead it's unbelievable. They're playing for something like 100,000 people in one night, and it would probably take us a year to play in front of that many people. It's quite something to actually see the mechanics of how it all works and how they conduct themselves, and how they can make sound fill up such a massive space as well.

Would you attribute some of the bigger sound of the new album to that experience?

Not deliberately. We were already interested in creating more space in our music as well.

Do you think the timing of Snow Patrol's success here in the States -- and maybe even back home -- was, and maybe continues to be, hindered at all by those who dismiss you as Coldplay clones?

That comes up quite a lot, you know. And you know, there's no harm in being related to Coldplay; I think they're a fantastic band. But if anybody takes the time to sit down and listen to our music and then listen to a Coldplay album, I think they're miles apart. If you come to one of our live shows, we're more of a rock band than Coldplay. It's never really bothered us, because we don't think we sound like them. I think there's a lot of lazy journalism to blame for that comparison.

Do you think the success of Coldplay and Keane and similar bands -- bands in your genre -- have pushed Snow Patrol to further individualize its sound, to distinguish itself more?

Since we don't think we sound like them, we just kept being our own band. Again, it's just what people are writing. It was like, it's easy to pigeonhole sometimes if they can't work it out for themselves. I think that's what happens. People are like, 'Yeah, these guys are like Coldplay.' Maybe there's a bit of melodic rock in our stuff, but I certainly don't think we followed Coldplay's path in any way.

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Cole Haddon