The journal of a Kentucky culture vulture
After two side projects by frontman Jon Foreman, it was easy to start wondering if Switchfoot was still a priority for the singer-songwriter and his fellow band members.
The group delivers the answer to that question Tuesday, and it is an emphatic yes.
Foreman’s forays of the past two years included a series of seasonal solo EP’s and the duo Fiction Family that he formed with Nickel Creek guitarist Sean Watkins. Both were outstanding efforts — the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer quartet of EP’s topped my list of Christian music last year. But Hello Hurricane shows Foreman still rocks, as hard as ever, with his bandmates. If anything, it sounds like maybe after getting some acoustic side projects out of his system, he was ready to rock. Hello Hurricane boasts the most blazing lineup of any Switchfoot album since the band’s early years.
That’s not news to anyone who has heard the leadoff single, Mess of Me, which launches an arsenal of distorted guitar, something we hear a lot on the album. On recent albums, Switchfoot has perfected an approach to the aching ballad, something we do get here with a few selections such as Always – the prettiest thing Switchfoot has done since 24 on The Beautiful Letdown (2004). But this is at its essence a rock record with the guitars, drums, and Foreman’s voice pushing the top of the envelope.
Lyrically, this is a familiar Switchfoot blend of introspection, activism, and spirituality. Mess of Me, for instance, is the latest reiteration of, “This is your life, are you who you want to be?” and This is the Sound is the most forceful of several challenges to the status quo. While Switchfoot has trended toward the mainstream martket, Christian fans should cotton to statements of faith such as Your Love is a Song and Yet.
And the album is a cause for fans in general to rejoice that while Foreman has taken on different forms over the years, the mothership of Switchfoot is as vital as ever.
About Rich Copley & Copious Notes
Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. MORE | E-mail Rich