The last time we heard from Snow Patrol was 'Just Say Yes', a new track they'd tagged onto their 2009 compilation 'Up To Now'.
If the video found the band squirming about uncomfortably (in what looked like white adult baby grows) as if they were trapped in a rave at the IMAX, the song was equally strange. A vaguely dancey beat that was not extreme enough to suggest a new direction, it limply floated by and was gone quicker than you could say "A-listed by Absolute Radio."
Well the band's half-hearted attempt to 'go dance' continues with 'Called Out In The Dark', which will be released as a single track and as part of an EP on September 4.
A roughly hewn acoustic guitar starts things off, before an unimaginative beat flips over Gary Lightbody's typically lip-quivering vocal delivery. You realise that when Snow Patrol do tap into the national consciousness with tracks like 'Run', it's because Lightbody's vocal can emote over a wall of dadrock sonics behind him. 'Called Out In The Dark' is wall-less, "minimalist" in the worst sense of the word.
The chorus is perhaps more disappointing than the verses, because it finds the band dropping the football stadium-like anthems for something that is not unlike the fey, coffee shop electronics that could be found on The Feeling's last album. In fact, as Lightbody goes into falsetto, he sounds like he's trying to do a blue-eyed, Will Young impression, but ends up sounding far too studied.
The whole track has the feeling of a someone who's just discovered the 'TECHNO/FUNK' beat on their first ever Casio keyboard. It makes the similarly minded Keane's musical change of direction seem positively zealous by comparison.