Snow Patrol's 1998 disc on Jeepster Records showcases the band's sometimes-edgy indie rock and occasionally spacy indie pop. The Edinburgh, Scotland, trio mixes tempos immediately, starting off with the crunchy "Downhill from Here" and the exuberantly poppy "Starfighter Pilot." The pace slows down quickly with the third track, the withdrawn and melancholy "The Last Show Ringing in My Ears." The borderline hip-hop beats of the fourth track, "Absolute Gravity," startle the listener, making it clear that listening to the disc is going to be a colorful ride. "Mahogany" is another acoustic-based ballad, sticking out on a disc full of non-traditional beats and chords. All of the songs highlight the band's earnest approach to songwriting. Tracks like "Velocity Girl" and "Favorite Friend" are some of the disc's catchiest and most endearing songs, calling upon a pop sensibility that's somehow different from the standard 1990s indie artists. Over-indulgent song titles like "One Hundred Things You Should Have Done in Bed" and "When You're Right You're Right (Darth Vader Bringing in His Washing Mix)" are examples of the band's unabashedly quirky approach to music. They're able to pull it off with their undeniable musicianship and musical sensibilities. On Songs for Polar Bears, Gary Lightbody appears on guitars, vocals, and keyboards, while Mark McClelland chimes in on bass and keyboards and drummer Jonny Quinn rounds out the lineup. Guest artists include Isobel Campbell, Richard Colburn, Fraser Simpson, and Tom Simpson. The album was recorded in Edinburgh, Scotland, by producer Jamie Watson.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer