I have been waiting patiently for this Snow Patrol Reworked project since I heard rumours of the cunning plan.
When Gary Lightbody finally went public with the idea in an interview with Jo Whiley, on Radio 2 in July, he declared that this version of Chocolate was better than the original. When you hear it, you understand why.
In September 1984, when Gary Lightbody was but 8 years old, Aztec Camera released, on their 12” single of All I Need Is Everything, a very downbeat acoustic version of Van Halen’s Jump. It was so alternative to the Van Halen original that I wondered how you could so reinvent a song.
Then I realised that Jump was inspired by someone who was going to jump to their suicide. Van Halen felt that there might be somebody watching the drama of someone on the ledge who might shout “Go ahead and jump”. Though the song shifted to the idea of jumping into love Roddy Frame, main man in Aztec Camera, went for the suicide scenario.
It would have been impossible for Van Halen to have eeked that depressive mood out of the song, being so rooted in the genre of hard rock. It took another band to maybe give the song its defining sound.
Fortunately Snow Patrol have created a space in their body of work where they can stand outside that anthemic rock sound that they stadiums with, to experiment with soundscapes. For their 25th year as a band they have left a stack of their songs in the hands of Iain Archer, who was a former member and has stepped in on occasions down through the years, to play around with the originals. Hence Reworked (EP1).
And so… Chocolate. Yes Gary, this is the definitive version. So glad you didn’t need Aztec Camera to do it for you! The lyric of near spiritual awakening and confessional regret needed this more reflective face. Archer gives the whole thing an almost prayerful guitar shimmer and then gives us an understated take on the original riff as a repentant Amen!
Crack The Shutters is the song least changed in these reworks but any self indulgent radio flirting shine has been taken off. It makes the romantic glory of the song more intimate and this lyric is intimate. Very!
Eyes Open? Well heavens but the guitar intro reminds me of Aztec Camera’s Jump. Archer’s imaginative wonder here is in the song’s climactic crescendo. When you expect Nathan Connolly to strut guitars, there is a beautiful blend of voices, almost like the Voice Squad, pushing it beautifully to conclusion.
The opening Time Won’t Go Slowly is the new song on the EP. It is another requisite Lightbody penned love song. To a fairground carousel waltz Gary ruminates on the relationship between love and time.
Time can stand still as if Empires and cities have disappeared but most often time is rushing too fast. Even when we want to speed up the relationship we don’t want it to all slip away. The truth is that this song might be an early 40s look at mortality as much as the romance! You are getting to that age boys!
All 4 songs considered and this is an EP right up my street. Gary Lightbody’s lyrics and voice get a firmament to shine. The songs get opened up… and flourish.