Snow Patrol, ft. Martha Wainwright - Set The Fire To The Third Bar

Tim Miller 17/11/2006

Rating: 4/5

I should probably confess that I am of the opinion that Snow Patrol are one of the dullest, most middle of the road acts around, peddling the weakest form of guitar-based indie to be found in the charts at the moment. It pains me that the television advert dubs their fourth (their FOURTH!) album Eyes Open 'a modern classic', as songs like “You Are All That I Have” and “Chasing Cars” are on it, and they are just typical Snow Patrol.

So it is with a warm glow that I have finally found a song by the five-piece that I can whole-heartedly appreciate. “Set the Fire to the Third Bar” is the third single to come from Eyes Open, and is undoubtedly their best single since smash hit 'Run' pushed them to the heady heights they now patrol from. Assisted (immensely, I might add) by vocals by Martha Wainwright, “Set the Fire…” sees her and usual vocalist Gary Lightbody sharing the same vocal melody over a soft accompaniment of tinkling piano and gentle guitar notes for over a minute of verses. Instead of sounding dull, however, Wainwright brings an element of fragility to both vocals, teasing out the emotion in Lightbody's voice, until a faint pattering of drums enters, plunging into the heartbreaking chorus.

For this spine-tingling chorus, Wainwright's subtle undertones to Lightbody's main vocal line, brushed with an echoing of strings, make for a truly wonderful swelling of melancholy, tugging at repressed memories and despairing sadness. It might not be a place you want to go, but one listen to this gorgeous Snow Patrol single - a complete surprise for me - is all it takes before you're spellbound.

Released November 13th, 2006.