Review Summary: Switchfoot finally sound like themselves, and not some band trying to recapture their insufficient glory periods.
Fulfillment, it’s almost an impossible feat to accomplish, and as an artist it’s no simpler a task. Like the Holy Grail once reached it evokes emotion that so few are able to understand let alone transmit for others to enjoy and comprehend. 'Hello Hurricane' is an attempt to convey this new found conviction for the CCM heavyweights Switchfoot. With their prior three releases the band felt overtly rushed therefore never feeling like the finished product was something of their own, but more or less, a product. So they fired themselves and set out to create music that truly emulated what the band was about, reaching fulfillment.
Much like Brand New
did with 'Daisy', Switchfoot have gone a direction few envisioned and thus have begun a small stir of controversy already. Combining a new raw elemental feel to their often safe and over produced sound, things have become a melting pot of alphabet soup for Jon to pick apart his life with messy convalescence into words at will. Mess of Me
should tarnish the beauty for those who grew a little too comfortable with the tepid and inconsistent flak that was 'Oh’ Gravity', thus setting the tone for the rest of the record.
With ease and relaxation the band delivers either solid up-tempo ballads like the refreshing Yet
or comfortably aggressive rocker anthems not heard since the glory days of 'Nothing Is Sound'. Your Love Is A Song
is a beautiful evolutionary track (even if it does begin with ANOTHER Ryan Tedder rip) with sultry verses ushered by symphonic “Oooo’s” all melting into the discs strongest chorus. It’s got hit written all over it, yet doesn’t compromise what the band is trying to achieve; a more focused attraction that doesn’t need to rely on outdated techniques the band delivered years ago.
The best aspect of ‘Hello Hurricane’ may be the instrumentals. They’ve become the centerpiece of the band while Jon is the conductor. Free
trots in with its dark melody which sets the mood for the rest of the track, this differs from past experiences where the band rode on Jon’s performance. I don’t know about you all, but that sounds like progression to me.
Lest not be worried that Jon has lost his touch; stripping away the over-productivity of ‘Oh’ Gravity (thank God!) what’s left is a genuine confidence not eschewed by the front man before. Always
is a gripping concoction of lyrics and intimacy, and by the times the “Hallelujah’s” come rolling ‘round you’ll be smiling with joy too. Sing It Out
may be the best song of the band’s career humbling verses hear Jon pour out “ I'm on the run / I'm on the ropes this time / Where is my song? / I've lost the song of my soul tonight
”, guilting the listener for peering in what feels like a confessional between him and the mic. His voice is raw often unfriendly and yet still endearing, its initially off-putting but I believe it was a conscious decision to fit the overall mood of the album.
Still for every The Sound
there’s a downer like Bullet Soul
which only leeches on everything Switchfoot has done before. This is a minor misstep though in comparison to the albums biggest flaw of everything meshing together too seamlessly - Hello Hurricane
is almost as forgettable as the opening track. Hopefully this problem will be attended to with their next release in the coming months, but its these few stigmas that keep this from being the
essential release in the bands catalogue.
Certainly a step forward, Switchfoot reminds us that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and that it’s all about the journey. Whether that is towards fulfillment or a multi-platinum record the outcome should reflect the producer in every way. And for the first time Switchfoot finally sound like themselves, and not some band trying to recapture their insufficient glory periods.