On May 25, Snow Patrol will release Wildness, their first record in seven years, which finds the band searching for clarity, connection, and meaning while staying true to the melodic songwriting prowess that brought them to prominence. Wildness taps into something raw and primitive. Finally, the band debuts “Life On Earth,” a song from Wildness.
Since their 1998 debut, Songs for Polarbears, Snow Patrol have racked up an impressive number of critical and commercial accolades, including 15 million global album sales, over one billion worldwide track streams, and are Grammy, BRIT Award, and Mercury Music Prize nominated.
After their Fallen Empires tour ended in 2012, band members —which include multi-instrumentalist Johnny McDaid, guitarist Nathan Connolly, bassist Paul Wilson, and drummer Jonny Quinn — decided to take a step back and focus on their own projects.
Also, lead singer, Gary Lightbody, continued work with his Tired Pony project with members of Belle and Sebastian, R.E.M, Reindeer Section and Fresh Young Fellows and moved to Los Angeles to begin writing songs for movies (including “This Is How You Walk On” for 2017’s Gifted). He also did high-profile co-writes with Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, Biffy Clyro, and One Direction. Taking the extended break from Snow Patrol proved to be a source of inspiration, and writing songs not pulled directly from his psyche helped heal what Lightbody considered not so much writer’s block as life block.
It’s in this search for clarity and connection that wrote and refined the songs in Wildness.
“I think it’s the first record I’ve ever written that I haven’t just asked a bunch of questions. I tried to figure out why I was unhappy, why I feel out of place, why I’m afraid,” says Lightbody. “There’s nothing really to protect me for — it’s all in the album. I want to remember.”
Lightbody’s renewed inspiration in Wildness
Lightbody’s father, suffering from dementia, inspired impulse. “I think the album is defined by memory in a lot of ways including my father’s loss of memory,” Lightbody admits.
“Seamus Heaney, my favorite poet of all time, said at 71 that he was only discovering what some of his poetry means, and this is coming from a Nobel Prize-winning poet. It’s a great testament to inspiration,” says Lightbody. “Sometimes it takes you five years to write the thing. Like now. And you know for sure when you finish an album like that, where you’ve poured over every detail and put every atom of yourself into it, everything makes sense, and I bet you I’m never not proud of this record.”
“There are many types of wildness, but I think it [is] distilled into two: the wildness of the modern age, all its confusion, illogic and alienation and a more ancient wildness. Something primal, alive and beautiful that speaks to our true connectivity, our passion, our love, our communion with nature and each other. [It] is the kind of wildness the album is centered around. The loss of it. Trying to reconnect with it. To remember it.”