Switchfoot, Moving Portrait
Google Play's exclusive Moving Portrait video series gives you an intimate, minute-long look at some of our favorite artists and the inner world behind their music. Enjoy.
by the Google Play Team
Part rock documentary, part surf film, and part travelogue, "Fading West" follows Grammy-winning alternative-rock band Switchfoot as they travel the globe in search of new musical inspiration and perfect waves. Filmed during the band's 2012 World Tour, this compelling doc offers rare glimpses of the longtime surfers on their boards and in the waves, captures the frenetic energy of their live shows, and in the end portrays a journey both epic and intimate. A FilmBuff Presentation.
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If 2009's Hello Hurricane was a return to the straightforward alt rock anthems of Switchfoot's 2003 breakthrough The Beautiful Letdown, then 2011's Vice Verses delivers more of the same with a few production left-turns thrown in. Ballyhooed as a kind of showcase for the band's rhythm section, Vice Verses nonetheless still features lead singer/songwriter Jon Foreman and the passionate, rock uplift the Christian-centric band is known for. Much like their similarly inclined predecessor U2, Switchfoot have grown somewhat experimental in their middle age while never totally relinquishing the rock anthem mantle. To these ends, we get the melodic dance-rocker "The Original," the epic drama of the light acid rock anthem "The War Inside," and the sprawlingly romantic "Restless." Similarly engaging is the hummable electro-ballad "Thrive" and the intimate and yearning acoustic title track. Ultimately, Vice Verses finds Switchfoot in a creatively energized and committed state of mind that should please longtime fans and produce more than a few ear-catching moments. Also included here is a second disc featuring a live concert the band gave at Center Stage in Atlanta.
By the time Switchfoot returned to autonomy with 2009's Hello Hurricane, the post-CCM quintet had learned so much from the rat race of their grueling Columbia years their new batch of songs appeared too effortless to be true. The multiplatinum glories of 2003's The Beautiful Letdown, while never replicated, taught the group to grow comfortable in its modern-rock skin -- to accept its status as a band for the people. That explains why Hello Hurricane is almost devoid of surprises and offers exactly what the people want: an assemblage of straight-ahead rock anthems, free from left-of-center experiments, bouncy power-pop numbers, or obligatory balladry. All of the above were at some point part of Switchfoot's line of attack, but here they fall by the wayside in exchange for no-nonsense anthems of purpose and faith. That thematic line has become the norm for Jon Foreman, who still appears to be on a lifelong quest to find meaning in a meaningless world ("Free"), decry the futility of the here and now ("Needle and Haystack Life"), and inspire the world to live for something more ("Mess of Me"). For all this familiarity, Foreman, perhaps inspired by the openness of his own solo material, seems more forthright than ever about his convictions -- he still won't refer to the subject of his devotion by name, but emotive slow-burners like "Your Love Is a Song," "Sing It Out," and "Always" are clear-cut about who's on the receiving end of his entreaties. Like other colleagues who started out in the CCM ghetto and moved on to the big leagues only to later scale back and start all over again, Switchfoot appears to have found its footing -- Hello Hurricane is by far the San Diego rockers' most natural, effortless outing to date.
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