Review Summary: Breaking free of their label Switchfoot give us their music in its purest form.
Switchfoot is a mix breed, but a mix breed in a good way, all their albums consist of slow, thoughtful, emotional songs to contrasting powerful, rock anthems and Hello Hurricane is no exception. Dropping their label and breaking free from the constricting limitations of Sony BMG, Switchfoot have set out to do what they love most and give it to us in its purity.
From the catchy riff from the opening of Need and Haystack Life to the spacey end to Red Eyes, Hello Hurricane is a rollercoaster of an album. Jon Foreman gives us a glimpse of his ability to effortlessly put his thoughts on paper and give us a lyrical masterpiece with the album’s first single Mess of Me, the rock anthem about prescription drug abuse that shows us their new raw sound. Free is very different to what they've done before, entering a slightly dark overtone from the lyrics to the slow, repeating riff at first I didn't know what to make of it, but upon second listen my shock turned to pleasure.
This turns towards the album’s title track Hello Hurricane, this is of stark contrast to Free, its light and uplifting dragging us back into familiar territory to the point where the opening "Oooo ooo oooo's" made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, thankfully the rest of the song delivers.
Initially I didn't know what to make of Bullet Soul, it has the sound of Stars but the energy of Awakening, yet is completely different all at once, to give this song the full effect is has to be listened with earphones the alternating speaker guitars shown in Dare You To Move is here and it's effective. Listening to Foreman belting out "Are you ready to GO!" was alien at first, but once you've adjusted to their new raw sound it feels homely.
Foreman's heart on sleeve approach to song writing is evident in all their ballads but none more so than Yet. Reminiscent of the bands very early work of You off the 'Legend of Chin' album. Yet plays on the emotions till Foreman's voice delivers one final heart-rending blow with the line "If it doesn't break / If it doesn't break / If it doesn't break your heart it isn't love". Sing It Out is a song of two halves, with the slightly moody "Where is my song? / I've lost the song of my soul tonight" to the more hopeful second half to the song which dares to break into an uplifting song with the lyrics "I'm holding on / I'm holding on to you".
Red Eyes ends the album with a slightly Sigur Ros esque mellow intro, which turns into a slow ballad before evolving into a floaty rock song, this fades out into brilliant ambient outro where Foreman's ghostly voice can be heard switching from Red Eyes chorus to Needle and Haystack Life's chorus, which brings this excellent album full circle.
While the jumping from slow to rock song can feel distorted, the blend is mixed well, but you still get the feeling the best is yet to be written. Watch out for their upcoming albums 'Vice Verses' and their 2 more currently unnamed albums.