Thursday, December 10, 2009


Hello Hurricane

It doesn’t take a music critic to connect the dots between U2 and “Needle and Haystack Life’’ from Switchfoot’s seventh full-length album. The San Diego band has long been drawing from its forebears’ deep spiritual and musical well with shimmering guitar anthems. It’s a vibrant blast of accumulating momentum tailor-made to run over an inspirational montage of slow-motion football highlights. And it’s no surprise if you detect tonal and thematic similarities to like-minded dreamers of a more recent vintage on ballads like “Your Love Is a Song.’’ Switchfoot was the Fray before the Fray was the Fray. It’s where the band diverges from the well-trod blueprint that the pleasant surprises come in. On “Mess of Me,’’ singer Jon Foreman trades his earnest croon for a more blistering attack in a punchy, hurtling screamer. On “The Sound,’’ the band rolls out the type of filthy bass riff and drum loop that UK dance rock outfits like Kasabian hurl in controlled blasts of hedonism. More than a couple of the mid-tempo light rockers here lack teeth, some of them even lack gums. We’ve heard Switchfoot as weepy soundtrack peddlers before, but Switchfoot the rock band, it turns out, is pretty darn good.

ESSENTIAL “Needle and Haystack Life’’

Boston Globe

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