By Debra Akins, contributing writer, GospelMusicChannel.com
It's been almost three years since San Diego rockers Switchfoot released their last studio album, Oh! Gravity. Much has transpired during that time, including the band's departure from Columbia Records to go back to their indie roots and record their latest effort, Hello Hurricane, on the band's own lowercase people label, along with a partnership with Atlantic. The group also built their own studio and, in the midst of an ongoing touring schedule, wrote and recorded more than 80 songs before narrowing down the 12 tracks they chose for Hurricane.
"That's why we see this album as a new beginning of sorts," says lead singer/songwriter Jon Foreman. "For us it was a feeling of true freedom."
Produced by noted hip-hop bassist/producer Mike Elizondo (Dr. Dre, Eminem, 50 Cent, Pink), Hello Hurricane returns Switchfoot to its rock roots, but does so with a fresh sound that will please long-time Switchfoot fans while garnering new ones for the band. In my opinion, Foreman is one of the most gifted songwriters of his generation, so it's hard to imagine that the band could produce anything less than the artistic excellence we've come to expect - and this album is no exception. Stacked with bigger-than-life, guitar-driven rock anthems like album opener "Needle and Haystack Life," radio single "Mess of Me," and "The Sound" (which you might have seen and heard in the TV commercial for the new Blackberry Storm 2 Smartphone), Hello Hurricane gets an aggressive start and is perfectly balanced by softer, melodic moments on tracks like the worshipful "Always," "Yet" and "Sing It Out."
The one constant running throughout this album is Foreman's thoughtfully-crafted lyrics, offering a hopeful theme in the midst of life's more challenging moments. Between Jon's artistry and the spot-on craftsmanship of his band mates Tim Foreman (bass), Jerome Fontamillas (keyboards), Chad Butler (drums) and Drew Shirley (guitar), Switchfoot continues to grow in stature with each new title. Hello Hurricane is another great offering from an exceptionally skilled group of musicians.
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