Snow Patrol & The Saturday Songwriters - The Fireside Sessions EP

Take one social media platform, a few thousand fans, and one songwriter - and voilà, eleven weeks later, you have an album. Such was the case with Snow Patrol.

During lockdown, frontman Gary Lightbody started the "Saturday Songwrite", a weekly online session that anyone could participate in. From March to May 2020, fans would suggest chords and lyrics in a live chat. Lightbody would write these down; disappear for an hour to put them all together; and come back with a finished track. It was a fascinating glimpse into the process of songwriting.

It was also compelling to see how a community of fans was able to inspire each other. In the midst of depressing headlines, isolation and uncertainty, the Saturday Songwrites were a heartwarming beacon of light.

Lightbody wrote twelve songs over the course of the eleven weeks. The band chose five songs for release on "The Fireside Sessions" EP. The Snow Patrol band members recorded their parts separately in their lockdown locations in June 2020, and long-time Snow Patrol collaborator Iain Archer produced the album, burning the midnight oil for weeks on end.

The result is an EP with tracks full of love, longing and loss - timeless topics all. But the songs also reflect the very specific mood of the world in spring 2020.

Lyrics like "these deranged horizons", "the panic wine that I've been drinking", "I'm screaming out forever", "the skies are empty" and "the loudest silence" echo the thoughts and worries that we had. These are lyrics that came from a thousand voices across the globe, but they form a surprisingly cohesive whole.

Musically, Lightbody's acoustic guitar is the foundation that Archer built his production on. Strings, background choirs, and the band's instruments intensify the simple song structures and turn them into atmospheric works of art, especially in the evocative "The Curve Of Earth".

Even in its draft version during the sessions, you could hear the earworm potential of the single "Reaching Out To You". The anthemic "On The Edge Of All This" is similarly catchy; the glorious choir that comes in towards the end elevates the song to another level entirely - truly the standout track of the EP.

"The Fireside Sessions" is an album that could only have been made in this unprecedented year. It's an album that highlights the best aspects of social media, where people come together to inspire each other and cheer each other up. It is therefore no surprise that at their core, the songs exude warmth and kindness.

Added bonus: all the proceeds from the EP go straight to anti-poverty charity The Trussell Trust, with neither the band nor the label taking a penny.

- Anna Wirz

 

Release date: 21 August 2020

 

Label: Polydor

 

You can buy the album on the Snow Patrol website.

 

Tracklist:

1. Reaching Out To You

2. On The Edge Of All This

3. The Curve Of Earth

4. Dance With Me

5. Light Years

 

Band members:

Gary Lightbody - Vocals

Nathan Connolly - Guitar

Johnny McDaid - Keyboards

Paul Wilson - Bass

Jonny Quinn - Drums