If you don’t spend your time wishing for the band that was, Hysterical is a good album full of powerful, vibrant tracks. The tracks do verge on the point of sounding too similar and the vocals do tend to stick to monotone sometimes but I guess that is just their style. Dig it.
Switchfoot Vice Verses
Album Review by Melissa Low (A)
Californian rock band Switchfoot have been in the music biz for almost 15 years. By this stage, one would hope that they would know what the difference is between bad songs and good songs. Thankfully, Switchfoot have gotten this down to a precise art. Their latest album, Vice Verses, is filled with gritty guitars, solid drumming and poetic lyrics to satisfy any tortured rock loving soul. Afterlife opens up the album with the fantastic crunching of guitars. As that pulls you in, lead singer Jon Foreman starts to sing “I’ve tasted fire; I’m ready to come alive”. The guitars bring a real roughness to the sound, and with the addition of the solid
drum beat, it grabs your attention and sets a bold tone for the album. Most of this album is heavily guitar dependant, especially with the louder rock tracks. Another strong heavy rock track is the song Dark Horses. With an intro full of gritty and distorted electric guitars, the aggression makes you want to start cheering on any underdog. I could see this type of song sitting nicely in any sport/action movie soundtrack. One of the oddest additions to Vice Verses is the track Selling the News. No band usually thinks about using beatnik verses on a rock album, however Switchfoot dared to stretch their sound, with the vocals passionately speaking about the media consumed society like an aggressive poem. With this contrasted with the sung chorus and bridge, and driven with its strong rhythm, the result works surprisingly well, creating a fusion between spoken word and alternative rock. The strengths in this album are more in the slower and more melodic tracks than the heavier rock. Songs such as Restless, Blinding Light, Thrive and (my favourite track) Souvenirs are all memorable and even paced songs, written with heart-tugging lyrics and moving harmonies. However, one track that must be mentioned is the album’s closer, Where I Belong. Longer than other tracks on the album, this final piece sets off a dreamlike melody
accompanied by soft echoes of harmonious vocals. The drumming and bass act like a strong and steady heartbeat through the song, and the guitars add in playful accents every once in a while. But the combination of the vocals and lyrics are the highlight of this piece; one verse that sings “This skin and bones is a rental, and no one makes it out alive” is painfully memorable. The only (minor) letdown in this album is the track The Original, which in all irony, doesn’t sound very original or as polished as the other tracks. The vocals feel a bit too forced with the sing/screaming and the melody feeling a bit generic, giving a sense of déjà vu to Switchfoot’s earlier music back in the early 2000s. Overall, Switchfoot’s latest offering is well crafted, with inspiring lyrics and fantastic melodies. Vice Verses successfully combines all the elements of a rock album and stretches the boundaries and expectations of their music. Over the 15 years of this band’s existence, this eighth album is a true testament to their success and longevity
Welcome to the creative issue of debate, brought to you by AuSM.