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When It's All Over We Still Have To Clean Up

"Make every album as if it's your last," is Snow Patrol's motto, and if, heaven forfend, their second album should be their swansong, it would certainly stand as a fine legacy.

Rating: 11 / 12

Fiona Reid, 15 Feb 2001

There's nothing remotely messy about this follow up to the excellent but feedback-doused Songs For Polar Bears; they've let go of the rampant fuzziness and distortion of old and soft-focussed on songs of delicate and profound perfection.

It's like swimming through a warm pool of keyboard ripples, fragile vocals and occasionally piquant guitars. With nothing forced, not an intonation out of place, and so much unhurried confidence and grace that they no longer need to kick up a fuss to grab our attention, there are only a handful of tracks here which will easily lend themselves to Snow Patrol's penchant for a good onstage ruckus - 'Making Enemies', 'Chased by... I Don't Know What' or the slow deliberate build up of the title track are as hard as things get.

While such comparisons are probably too obvious to make, the opening whimper of 'Black And Blue' recalls labelmates Belle and Sebastian, at least until the rock riff kicks in, while they capture an uncanny Red House Painters eerieness on 'If I'd Found The Right Words To Say.' Their strongest reference point, though, is immediately apparent, especially in the single 'Ask Me How I Am' and 'The Last Ever Lone Gunman', both of which could could easily be mistaken for Lou Barlow at his best, in either Sebadoh or Folk Implosion incarnations.

'When It's All Over . . .' is True Romance, a diary of sweetness and sadness that never waxes too winsome or coy, and I loved every sumptuous hook-laden minute of it. There are magical moments aplenty, but if I had to choose a song to accompany me to a desert island (and I would definitely want one of these) then it would be the tragic simplicity of 'On Off' - "Nobody's perfect, that's what I say/ No one has hurt me so much, you say/ I'm sorry . . ."

The album that reaches a quiet place within the chaos. A bit of a classic, then.
Rating: 11 / 12

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