I love Switchfoot. From the time I heard them when I was 15 til now I have bought all their albums and listened to them attentively. Their lyrics have always been smart and well thought-out, from their clever "Chem 6A" (which is where my on-again off-again band, Project 6A, with CarpeGuittarem drew its name from) to their sad and lonely "The Blues", Switchfoot has been with me through many a time, developing with me. As time went on, however, I found myself not connecting as I once had with my favorite band. Jon was at a very different part of his life than I was, and while I enjoyed Hello Hurricane, the band's previous album, I felt a little isolated from it. The album lacked the intensity of the band's previous outings, and wound up sounding like U2 (which is a bit of a mortal sin in my book, considering how bland U2 usually is). So I was a bit afraid of this new album, hoping the energy would come back with this album.
I'm happy to say that it did, and then some.
Now if any of my audience is looking for The Beautiful Letdown, I'll be happy to say this: that's never coming back. Beautiful Letdown, while a good album, doesn't have the bite of this album, and I can honestly say that it's better than Beautiful Letdown. The entire album feels like Dirty Second Hands on steroids which, if you don't know what that is, here's the song so you can get an idea!
The whole album has this feel of looseness and rapidity, firing off songs at a breakneck pace. It's Switchfoot's most energetic album to date. And it works. Each song leads to the next smoothly, and manages to be unique without sacrificing the feel of the album. The sound in this album, while like Hello Hurricane and the previous albums, is something completely and totally its own, and further evolves the band in a positive and unique direction.
Come to think of it, that's something that this band does really well with this album: it's a cohesive unit, with all its parts contributing to make something more. I can't imagine listening to just one of these songs without wanting to listen to at least half the album, delving into all the sounds that these guys put together. It's one of the few albums I've heard that's an actual album, as opposed to a collection of songs that just happen to be together on the same disc.
Ultimately, I have to say that Switchfoot's album is worth the listen. It's going to be different than what most people think of as "classic" Switchfoot, but let's get real: they left that four albums ago.
And good riddance I say.