A shameless cash in or a worthy early summary? It’s certainly tempting to go for the former, especially considering Snow Patrol are a band in their prime, still churning out the hits, and Up To Now – which despite the title is clearly a -greatest hits’ album – is more than a little premature. Unless, of course, ten years down the line we should be expecting another album entitled Between Now and Last Time.
You have to give credit for effort, though. Up To Now could hardly avoid including the hits (-Run’, -Chasing Cars’, -Take Back The City’, -Shut Your Eyes’ and the brilliant -Set Fire To The Third Bar’ are all present and correct), but it does a decent job of offering a bit of variety, too. There are two tracks from debut album Songs for Polarbears, and five (or nearly half the album) from follow up When It’s Over We Still Have To Clear Up. Throw in three previously unreleased tracks, -Signal Fire’ (that’s only prior appearance is on the Spiderman 3 Soundtrack), two Little Noise Session efforts recorded with an orchestral backing at the Union Chapel and even a cover of Beyonce’s -Crazy In Love’ (which is rubbish, but still’¦) and Up To Now goes far beyond the usual efforts to sell -best of’ compilations to fans by sticking a single unreleased track on the end.
Of the new efforts, -Just Say Yes’ is one of the album’s standouts, with a catchy keyboard layering and sporadic female vocals adding a new dimension. -Dark Roman Wine’ is a promising effort, too, a lo-fi, vocal-heavy track with a haunting edge to it. It’s the bonus DVD that will have fans paying out, though. It includes a selection of impressive live recordings from Snow Patrol’s 2009 festival shows, a total of twelve tracks including the much-maligned -Lightning Strike’ in its 17-minute entirety. Then there’s a documentary covering Snow Patrol’s story so far, with plenty of band interviews, a welcome focus on the early years (especially when Gary Lightbody hated to perform in front of a crowd) and a feature on the Take Back The City mini-tour, which saw Snow Patrol rush around four cities in two days. All in it’s a total of well over two hours of bonus footage.
It’s difficult to rave about the artistic merit of something that’s largely a glorified hits tape, but equally it would be unfair not to acknowledge the efforts Snow Patrol has gone to in making this release universally appealing: it takes in the entire life span of the band, it’s nicely packaged, and it seems to make a genuine attempt to be more than just a -best of’. Even the biggest fans will find something new to be entertained by.