When It's All Over We Still Have To Clear Up
Now that the bombast of Blur and Oasis has faded, a sensitive new, Morrissey-esque division of bands has emerged as the mortar holding the bricks of the Britpop building together.
Joining the ranks of Travis and Coldplay are Snowpatrol, an outfit out of Belfast - via Dundee and Glasgow - playing the sort of intelligent, understated pop/rock that makes poets out of its songwriters.
Snowpatrol offer a varied menu of bright, jangly guitar numbers offset by piano ballads tending towards the heartbreak-pop end of the spectrum, all sprinkled with the quirkiness of XTC or Talking Heads. Other transatlantic cousins recalled are the Dandy Warhols and, when the going is at its heaviest, Pearl Jam.
This is Snowpatrol's follow-up to 1998 debut Songs For Polar Bears, but shows no signs of having been the proverbial 'difficult' second album. Perhaps that's because the three members (on guitar, bass and drums) have spent the intervening years honing their skills and paying their dues by touring low-key venues instead of rushing, slavering, after stardom like so many chart acts.
The effort has paid off, as shown in a carefully crafted piece of work that stands repeated listening. Dig the new breed, as Paul Weller once said.