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Snow Patrol - 'Just Say Yes'

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Fraser McAlpine | 09:26 UK time, Wednesday, 28 October 2009

When in the presence of something magical, there are two ways to react. You can look for the wires, magnets and sleight-of-hand tricks which create the illusion that something truly supernatural is in the room, or you can go with the flow, clap when instructed, and willingly suspend your disbelief.

Clearly, a little bit of both is necessary in life, or you'll either find yourself believing in pixies - because the Tooth Fairy has sent you their Facebook deets - or storming out of movies because the actors are clearly not the people they pretend to be on screen.

The question is, when the sparks fly and the smoke starts to clear, will you find yourself transported or intractible?

(Here's the video. It was shot inside a golf ball in Tinyworld.)

Let's use this song by Snow Patrol as a good example. It wants us to be lifted up by its winning velocity, its sense of scale and its throbbing peaks. It wants us to feel like we're standing on a cliff-edge, arms out, tears caught in the wind, feeling a very intense feeling in a very beautiful place.

And, as with a lot of magic tricks, the methods it uses to create the illusion are nothing much, once you've spotted what they are.

Snow Patrol are a band whose songs are based on tiny little fragments of melody, which cycle around until it's time to move on to the next one. I've pointed this out before, but if they can repeat themselves, so can I.

And BOY can they repeat themselves. There are basically only two melody lines to this entire song, a verse one and a chorus one. And it's not like Gary Lightbody's rivetting delivery is selling it either. He sounds snoozy and distant, while the rest of the band play with felted fingers. There's no spark, no OOMPH, and worst of all, no fun.

And yes, it's entirely fair enough to point out this is needless nitpicking, and gets in the way of the magic for the people who want to believe.

There again, if you put sellotape on a balloon, and stick a pin in it, the balloon won't pop. That's not magic either, no matter how many times you shout "shazam!".

Two starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: November 2nd
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)



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