posted on December 05, 2009 18:00
A review of the album 'Hello Hurricane' by Switchfoot
Review Snapshot: After jumping ship from major label Sony and creating their own indie label called lower case people Switchfoot have returned with 'Hello Hurricane'. While there are tracks identical to their previous releases it's still an interesting and conflicting album.
The Cluas Verdict? 7.5 out of 10
Full Review: I really like Switchfoot. They're great, but they're predictable - there's always a 'heavy' rock track, an almost ballady song and the rest are a bit samey. Not necessarily a bad thing - you know what you get when you purchase a Switchfoot album, like a fateful friend you can always trust will only change slightly in the space of a decade or two. There are no surprises here, but after every band on earth proclaiming that their most recent album is 'different' it's really refreshing that some still know what they're great at, and don't feel the need to dramatically change their sound or style to somehow prove themselves as musicians.
Jon Foreman, the lyricist and lead singer for Switchfoot, embarked on solo career after the release of 2006’s ‘Oh! Gravity.’, and returned for ‘Hello Hurricane’. It’s apparent from the first listen that this is definitely a Switchfoot album, there’s no one else who could possibly make an album like this. Which is why it’s easy to forgive the predictability, because even though they only make slight tweaks with each album their music is hard to mistake.
Their first single from ‘Hello Hurricane’, ‘Mess of Me’ is the 'heavy' rock track on this album. And it’s brilliant. The opening riff is nothing short of attention grabbing and Foreman’s voice is in top form. It contains the self-deprecation that’s essential to fit with the at times aggressive music, but there are also glimpses of positivity as is key in most of Swithfoot’s songs. If you were to listen to this track for only one reason it should be to hear Foreman’s voice almost combine with the guitar near the end, it’s not to be missed.
‘Free’ is perhaps the most powerful track on this album. It’s dark, angry and affecting. Foreman proclaims that “inside this shell there’s a prison cell” while violins, guitars and drums decorate the rest of the song with an atmosphere of angst and hopelessness. What’s not to be loved?
Closing track ‘Red Eyes’ is the perfect ending to ‘Hello Hurricane’. It’s somewhat comforting and emotive. It’s passionately honest, admitting that “nowhere feels safe to me/nowhere feels home/even in crowds I’m alone”. I may have some issues with similarities in their songs styles throughout the years but one thing I can’t fault are Foreman’s lyrics. Every time I hear a Switchfoot song it always begs the question "how does he do it?"
‘Hello Hurricane’ has some obvious similarities to Switchfoot’s previous albums, ‘Beautiful Letdown’’s ‘Meant to Live’ is ‘Hello Hurricane’’s ‘Mess of Me’, ‘Oh! Gravity.’’s ‘Let Your Love Be Strong’ is ‘Hello Hurricane’’s ‘Sing It Out’. But they still have yet to release a bad album. Despite my criticisms I have never listened to a Switchfoot album and not been affected by it. ‘Hello Hurricane’ may not be unique to Switchfoot’s back catalogue, but their songs always churn out the perfect measure of optimism and despair which are crucial for making an album succeed.