Gravity compromised

Adam Griffiths

Switchfoot’s latest fun, but ultimately flawed

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Credit: Ron Soltys

Switchfoot frontman Jon Foreman can’t really scream. But on Switchfoot’s latest, Oh, Gravity, he manages to get the truth out through strained yelping.

“We don’t know what we’re doing. We do it again,” Foreman sings on “Amateur Lovers.”

That’s not to say this latest collection of songs from the group that has all but left its Christian rock roots behind is bad. It’s just missing essential pieces.

It’s put together in typical Switchfoot fashion. Attack modern teen lifestyle. Croon about the pitfalls of being a Christian in a post-modern world. Toss in a little sincere angst for flavor and integrity. The end result is a less unabashed Green Day’s American Idiot with hints of Bright Eyes’ melodic ironies.

The point of most of the songs is clear, but it’s kind of beaten to death in execution. Maybe the “modern machine” that’s attacked on the first half of the album isn’t so bad after all? (Besides, where would the band be without it?) Oh, Gravity also showcases Switchfoot’s ability to understate well, but there’s a fine line between effective subtlety and outright obscurity.

Most of the songs are destined to appear on “Laguna Beach” or “The O.C.” soundtracks. “Circles” runs them around itself. “4:12” doesn’t sound like Switchfoot at all, but that’s not a bad thing. Foreman’s performance here is nostalgic of Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, making it stand out from the rest of the tracks. “Faust, Midas, and Myself” is on the conservative side of the understatement divide and contains a healthy amount of Jesus-flavored overtones. “Let Your Love Be Strong” is Oh, Gravity’s beautiful letdown with an impressive yet simple synth and guitar arrangement.

Oh, Gravity is Switchfoot doing what they do best without any revolutionary new ideas. There is just enough edge and risk to keep everyone hanging on for more, waiting to see what this decade-old band can do next.


Oh, Gravity

Released by Columbia Records

Stater rating (out of five):


Contact A.L.L. correspondent Adam Griffiths at [email protected].