Review Summary: Aside from its over bearing cliches, Switchfoot create an album that can only be described as self fornicating music.
So you’ve just exploded onto the mainstream market after growing some balls and trying your hand at the trick, yet often juggernaut mix, of rock/pop. And of course after all the precious kittens were reprieved from getting their faces smashed by "Meant To Live" you warmed their delicate stomachs with the beautiful "Dare You To Move". Your albums’ now two-times platinum and you’re at the forefront of the CCM scene, what is your next move? Oh, you’re going to ditch your enthusiastic Snow Patrol
on ‘x’ laden riffs that was The Beautiful Letdown
and become moody, angsty, heavy, and better? Well, good luck.
Switchfoot just kind of swooped into the scene sneakily, right? I mean, we were all still enjoying our Meteora
and addressing our wounds from St. Anger
’s abuse, and here comes that one kid who we all think is perfect. He’s got everything a cd player, an unbeatable Yu-Gi-Oh deck, he tried out for American Idol once, and to top it off he was the one who found Nemo. Did I mention he spends his Sunday afternoons taking his bed ridden grandmother to Church where he performs in the choir… Doesn’t this sound like what Switchfoot would embody if they’d portrayed a person back in the transitioning years of 2003-04.
Thing is, when you can talk the talk and
walk the walk then by all means you should; and by God when Switchfoot come very close to doing no wrong on their fifth album, Nothing Is Sound
, a detour from the pretentious side of the band and into the darker and deeper depths. From the rising start to the lead single "Stars" I knew the band we’re going to aim very closely at eclipsing their sugar daddy The Beautiful Letdown
. There were some faults that could not be over looked on their previous effort starting with the fact that there wasn’t much presence of a band. Aside from some of the minor moments of beautiful musicianship to grace few tracks there was little to be aesthetically appraised over. This time around the band make sure each elemental aspect to the groups sound can be heard, as new breaths are given to instruments all throughout the record.
I won’t lie and say that I prefer the stronger more back-boned moments of Switchfoot clearly represented for in album opener Lonely Nation
. With a great job of sticking to a bass/drum groove and guitar effects to overhang the track, it revokes the equivocal sound of stampeding elementary school students over playgrounds across the nation chanting “We are, We are, The Youth of the nation…
"Politicians" sees the guys grit their teeth as starkly as they ever have. With escalating guitars to weave in and out of the trodden drum beat. Its about as heavy as they’ve ever been and it in turn produces one of their best songs to date. To combat the surging riff lashing lapsed by three guitars Jon yells out, “I pledge allegiance to a country, Without borders, Without politicians, Watching for my sky to get torn apart.” "The Fatal Wound" places its vote for sleeper pick in the Song of the Album award, with Jon agonizing over a brooding acoustic back drop and more steady drumming provided at the hands of Chad Butler. Effects used on The Beautiful Letdown
make an appearance on this track aiding it for the better; they don’t have a hostile take over feel provided previously.
Still, where the band hit their mark is strengthening the groove found on TBL and extending on it. Trying to incorporate some distinction between each instruments role also becomes a key advantage. It smoothes out perfectly best on "Happy Is A Yuppie Word" as the band demonstrate stagnant ability to switch up tempo and dynamics as swiftly as one note. As soon as the second verse rolls around with its inflammatory sectioned chop offs you’ll realize the musical ear candy you’ve indulged yourself with.
Songs like Golden
show the bands ability to still write a catch hook laden with rain drop acoustics (beloved on "Dare You To Move") and subtle piano notes to accentuate the sugar pop chorus. We even get some “La-La-La’s” in the bridge paying homage to their earlier investments. "We Are One Tonight" brings out the beautiful side in rioting with its anthemic guitar spread over its buttery flavored pop corn drum hits. Providing a stellar album standout and another worthwhile hook, this song really showcases what the band is about as a whole. Five guys out to spread music, nothing more nothing less.
Sure they’ve deviated a little more from the drastic revamping that was The Beautiful Letdown, but that album was far from perfect. Nothing Is Sound shows a beautiful progression of a band capitalizing on its mistakes and trying to claim a niche of their own. And just like all the typical revelation inspired movies that this band has eschewed countless songs for, they prove that with a brief voyage to the new depths provided here it produces a more than satisfying listen. Ultimately proving you can’t judge an album by its cover, or by the belief that this band is composed of five pretentious dudes
hell-bent on recreating everything that is The Beatles
Recommended Tracks Include: Happy Is A Yuppie Word, Politicians, The Fatal Wound