Although Scottish rock band Snow Patrol has been around for fifteen years, their emergence in the States feels more recent. Their 2004 hit "Run" from the album Final Straw introduced them to a much broader audience, and may be the initial reference point many have with their music. So while those masses may find a double-CD best-of collection for the group a bit sudden, they actually have a fair amount of material in the vaults.
Up To Now does a commendable job of breaking the mold for best-of collections. It helps that by spacing things out over two discs worth of material they allowed some breathing room necessary for satisfying both casual and more devoted fans. There are representative tracks from all five of the groups albums, but it's the weighty prevalence of kitchen sink material that actually give the collection more interest.
"Just Say Yes" is the new single from the set and one of a handful of new recordings included. Sporting a very radio-friendly melody, its infectiousness shows that they have more than just token filler for this outing. Fans of the group will also be interested in two new versions of previous album tracks. "The Planets Bend Between Us" from A Hundred Million Stars receives a slight alternate tweaking, while older cut "An Olive Grove Facing The Sea" gets a new acoustic treatment. On the live front, there are two tracks – "Run" and "Chasing Cars" – featuring the band supported with live strings.
There are also some left field cuts interspersed between the more traditional fare. For those who've always wanted to know how Snow Patrol might cover a Beyonce song… well, now you can know with their quirky but kind of catchy take on "Crazy In Love" (perhaps the only time you'll hear a rap breakdown associated with the group). There are also two tracks from lead singer's Gary Lightbody's other group The Reindeer Section, which is a "supergroup" made up of members from other Scottish bands including Belle & Sebastian, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub and others. You'll also find some b-sides from the band which give more attention to their lesser heard material.
But for those just wanting to grab some of their more popular radio hits and album gems, that part is thoroughly covered as well. Favorites such as "Run", "Chocolate", "Chasing Cars" and "Take Back The City" are all included, as is their contribution to the Spiderman 3 soundtrack, "Signal Fire." All of their albums are almost equally represented, giving a thorough chronicle from their earlier work to more popular recent material.
Unless you simply don't like the band, there's really not much fault to be found with Up To Now. There is enough new, rare and archive material that more recent fans will be discovering a whole new album in addition to a best-of. More devoted followers should like both the new cuts as well as the equal attention given to both their catalog and extracurricular activities. It's a strong release showcasing great material from a quality band. And in what is generally considered a "grab for cash" type of release, Up To Now shows that you can still manage to make things interesting as well.