Neither a critic's band nor a super-popular radio sensation, Gary Lightbody's Glasgow group was, once upon a time, just a struggling indie-rock outfit, more Belle & Sebastian insular than Coldplay make-out music. By the time their breakthrough record, Last Straw, finally got to the States in 2004, Snow Patrol had been toiling in semi-obscurity for 10 years before discovering that tuneful guitars, yearning vocals, and undeniably sweeping choruses will always have a captive audience among young men and the women with whom they're dying to snog. They may be sappy romantics, but ones too edgy for the mainstream and too polished for the hipsters. Last year's Eyes Open helped them establish some commercial inroads in the Adult Contemporary market, but, c'mon, nobody's mom confuses them with Maroon 5. "Chasing Cars" was a huge hit, they had a song on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack, and yet how many people could pick Lightbody out of a frontman lineup? The upside for this moderately compelling band is that their continued lack of huge media exposure will lessen the chance of an inevitable backlash. The downside is that beyond a few catchy, disposable singles, who's gonna remember them 10 years from now?
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