Britain's Snow Patrol set aside three months in 2010 to make its seventh album, "Fallen Empires."
It wound up taking a year, mostly owing to frontman Gary Lightbody's bout of writer's block.
"Just with the lyrics, he had real problems getting the words out," recalls drummer Jonny [cq] Quinn. "It was a bit scary, because Gary's always been very prolific. For this to happen to him took everyone by surprise."
"So we just sort of told him to have some time off and not have a time constraint. We went and recorded some things on our own and it took a few months before anything happened. But when it started and we got the first song recorded, then the rest...we ended up with three albums' worth."
The material also took Snow Patrol in different directions than its previous releases. Recording at a house in Los Angeles rather in Britain or Ireland, the album -- which debuted at a career-high No. 5 on the Billboard 200 chart -- benefits form what Quinn, 40, calls "a bit of West Coast summeriness" and incorporates more electronic elements as well as additional players, a guest appearance from singer Lissie and even a full choir.
"We didn't really decide ahead of time that the songs deserved to be treated that way," Quinn says. "We didn't really know the sound of the album in the beginning. It was one of those things that just developed. We wanted to add in a lot of electronic sort of keyboards and moods and electro beats and that, and instead of using walls of guitars we were trying to use one or two.
"It worked out well. We're very happy with it...and it's all going over great live, so it was worth all the work it took to make it right."
Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran perform Friday, April 20, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $39.50 and $29.50. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.
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