Richard Sawyer

Snow Patrol
"Songs For Polar Bears"

9th February 2004
reviewer: Richard Sawyer
rating: 5 out of 5
published by: Jeepster
released: 12th October 1999
  1. Downhill from here
  2. Starfighter pilot
  3. Last shot ringing in my ears
  4. Absolute gravity
  5. Get balsamic vinegar...quick you fool
  6. Mahogany
  7. NYC
  8. Little hide
  9. Make up
  10. Velocity girl
  11. Days without paracetamol
  12. Fifteen minutes old
  13. Favourite friend
  14. One hundred things you should have done in bed

Signed to the somewhat elite Jeepster label back in 1998 and originally named “Polar Bears”, Snow Patrol are now on the brink of UK domination, airplay, and a top ten album in the form of the re-released 'Final Straw'… but where did it all begin?

Well as you’ve probably guessed it was 1998’s 'Songs for Polar Bears' named as a jibe at a small-time US band who claimed the name back after a lengthy legal dispute. First impressions are good; the album has an immediacy that is hard to argue with, whilst also having hidden depths of lyrics and a song craft that has only grown since. Stand out tracks are numerous and really depend on your mood. 'Starfighter Pilot' is always a favourite, as are it's remixes, which in actual fact rank among the best tracks the band have ever released (the remixes are only available on the second single of the song). ‘...Polar Bears' really sets the tone for the band's work, and although a little raw in places, it is edgy and distinctive.

Those familiar with the band’s later output feel that the album lacks some of the epic slower tracks which have now become synonymous with Snow Patrol, substituted here for a slightly more anarchistic, and youth rebellion. If this was a film, it’d be a cult classic. It’s not, and as such, it will go down as an excellent and refreshing album from a band always destined for greatness.