Switchfoot - Vice Verses

Switchfoot - Vice Verses [2011]

San Diego quintet, Switchfoot sound a bit bored on their eighth studio album. The band attempts to spice things up with sixties psychedelic-funk that feels like an Austin Powers soundtrack reject, "The Original", and drippy, waltzing ballad "Restless", but the general lack of energy on the album makes it a largely lifeless listen. 

Front man, Jon Foreman's fuzzy spoken word verses on "Selling The News" aim for Beck territory but fall a bit short. Their cynical look at the news is saved by its gooey, Maroon 5 inspired disco-rock hook, all but assures the track is a hit-in-waiting. Languid guitar and a steadily clicking programmed beat for "Thrive" are unfortunately bland, wasting the decent lyrics about the desire to do more with life, "Feels like I travel, but I never arrive / I want to thrive, not just survive". Their look at the idealized view of the world that youth have is similarly lost in limp delivery on "Souvenirs". 

The album is at its best when Switchfoot rocks out a bit, with the gussied-up grunge-inspired "Dark Horses" providing a rare bit of energy and enthusiasm as the plucky guitar pokes behind the bass dripping verses. The bristling shuffle of riffs and Foreman's matter-of-fact vocals work well together on call to action "Afterlife", refusing to wait for a spark to start living, "And I wonder, why would I wait till I die to come alive / I'm ready now, I'm not waiting for the afterlife". The sunny strut of guitars and kick drum beat on uplifting "Rise Above It" deliver, but Foreman sounds constantly about to break into a rap in the awkward verses. 

The itchy strut of the guitar and mellow piano feel mismatched for Foreman's detached, nearly-spoken vocals on "The War Inside", sounding a bit like early nineties Duran Duran. There are moments to enjoy here, like the quietly flickering acoustic and Foreman's raspy vocals on understated "Vice Verses", but more often than not Switchfoot feels like a worn out, uninterested band on their latest. 

Album Details:

Artist    Switchfoot

Release Date    September 27, 2011

Genre    Rock

Label     Lowercase people Records/Atlantic

Location    San Diego, California, USA

                                                    Switchfoot began as small band in 1996 and were known as Chin Up. The band’s singer and guitarist was Jon Foreman, the bassist was Tim Foreman, and the drummer was Chad Butler. After performing at local shows, they were contacted by Charlie Peacock, the owner of the indie record label, Re:think Records. Soon after, Chin Up signed to Re:think Records under the current band name, Switchfoot. Quickly the band released three albums, The Legend of ChinNew Way to Be Human, and Learning to Breathe. Out of the three, Learning to Breathe became the most popular, becoming certified gold, and later received a Grammy nomination for best rock gospel album. Also, the song “Only Hope” from their first album was featured in the movie A Walk to Remember. The song became recognized across the country and helped them sign to a new record label known as Columbia Records/SonyBMG.

                          Switchfoot is also very much involved with their fans. They have formed their own fan club, known as Friends of the Foot, and have released several videos of themselves on the road as a podcast. As a member of the fan club, one also gets special treatment. This includes early entry and a time of to a meet and greet with the band at headlining concerts, discounts off merchandise, and special updates on the band. Switchfoot also involved the fans while recording their album Oh! Gravity by setting up a webcam in the studio. They even held a contest to see who would play a cowbell for one of the songs being recorded.

Track List :

1. Afterlife
02. The Original
03. The War Inside
04. Restless
05. Blinding Light
06. Selling The News
07. Thrive
08. Dark Horses
09. Souvenirs
10. Rise Above It
11. Vice Verses
12. Where I Belong

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