The highly anticipated sixth album from Switchfoot, contains 12 new tracks written by the band an produced by Tim Palmer (Tin Machine, Pearl Jam, The Cure, Mother Love Bone, U2) & Switchfoot with Grammy winning executive producer Steve Lillywhite. The new album expands Switchffot's sonic palette while at the same time dealing with social issues on songs like the alt-country blues of 'Dirty Second Hands,' in which Jon Foreman sings of the dehumanization that comes with technology. Other politically motivated tracks include 'Oh! Gravity' the title track's generational appeal for love, peace and understanding, 'American Dram,' with its biting truth, 'Awakening,' about trying to recover the innocence of a child in the midst of an ever harsher reality, the sawing alt-country of 'Head Over Heels,' the exotic instrumentation and Middle Eastern flavor of 'Circles,' the REM-esque pulse of '4:12', the lush Brit-pop melodies of 'Yesterdays,' the Echo and the Bunnymen/Smiths influenced 'Burn Out Bright' and Motown sound of 'Amateur Lovers.'
With Oh! Gravity
, the San Diego-based modern rock act delivers their best album in years, one that fully reconciles their (Christian) faith with their (considerable) talent. It's diverse but not overly so, and while the production work of veteran Tim Palmer (U2, Tears for Fears) helps provide a radio-friendly sheen atop everything, it's actually their least compromised/mainstream sounding record since the group left the indie scene. From the chiming, revved-up, anthemic title song, which pairs compressed vocals with distorted guitars, to the moody and mildly schizophrenic single "Dirty Second Hands," this album is loud and dirty, the lyrics are thoughtful and plaintive. Lead singer/songwriter Jon Foreman clearly questions the meaning of the band's success, and the role they play in the scheme of things: "Like a puppet on a monetary string/Maybe we've been caught singing/Red, white, blue, and green/But that ain't my American dream." If only Switchfoot's conscience could be implanted in the bodies of other modern rock acts! The world might not necessarily be a better place, but the radio certainly would be. --Mike McGonigal
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