No Switch for Switchfoot
Remember when Switchfoot was relevant? Well, despite the fact that many of us, including myself, thought they went into hiding, the band has actually been rather consistent with their music. After releasing a best hits collection in 2008, they still continued to release albums afterwards with 2009’s edgier “Hello Hurricane” and 2011’s “Vice Verses.” Although the band may have dropped from the public eye, they still remain a strong figure in the Christian Rock world, among those such as Relient K and The Afters.
As a result of these continued efforts to produce music, Switchfoot thus brings “Fading West,” an album that screams Christian Rock with passion, upbeat pop guitar riffs, and more.
The album opens with “Love Alone is Worth the Fight,” which, as all alternative rock does, starts with that singular catchy guitar riff. Uplifting violins follow, and then the whole band chimes in, creating a rock orchestra. With this opening track, the band immediately sets the tone for an album that is self-reflective and “meaningful.”
However, it is in such a way that makes it hard to distinguish one song from another. Each of the first few tracks sound like the others in a different variation of riffs and palm muting next to the amps. “Who We Are” and “When We Come Alive” all blend into one choir-filled Christian Rock song.
Later on, however, they experiment a little with some electronic influence in the track “BA55,” which whimsically messes around with some keytar chords. Unfortunately, the song creates this build up that never follows to an actual “point of action,” so it ends on a strangely low note.
The tracks “Say it Like You Mean It” and “Let it Out” allow Switchfoot to fall back on their classically aggressive yet playful angst. This relies on interchanging guitar riffs and lead singer Jon Foreman’s powerful vocals. The two tracks are a combination of 2007’s “Gravity” and play with palm muting even more than your standard alternative rock song. In response, it switches the pace from uplifting to edgy.
“Fading West” closes with a track titled “Back to the Beginning Again.” Talk about a fitting title for the ending right? Foreman sings, “I wanna feel the wind on my back again,” which makes it end on a feel-good note. It’s fast-paced just like most of the album. In fact, it already somewhat asks if listeners are ready for another album to come out in the near future.
Overall, Switchfoot’s “Fading West” is tasteful Christian Rock, but not different enough to bring the band out of the deep end they found themselves post-“The Beautiful Letdown.” They strategically intertwine strong Christian themes with “life” mottos that could actually be applicable to all listening audiences who want something simple and pleasant to listen to. However, they have seen their glory days, and it is clear that they are just plain happy to still be in the business making music simply for the love of it.
ONLY RECOMMENDED IF: You’re a fan of Christian Rock and don’t mind that Switchfoot haven’t changed their style in a while.