Reviewed by Helen Whitall
As their legion of fans will know, Switchfoot documented the birth of their ninth studio album, 'Fading West', with a rockumentary/surf film of the same name which followed the band chasing waves and songs around the world. They've now issued this generous seven-track gem of extra songs from the film. The album 'Fading West' could be criticised for lacking Switchfoot's typical variety, particularly edgier guitar-driven material, but not so this mini-album. Confusingly, it's the film and album's title track that kicks off this mini-album. The song itself is a vibey earworm, given a chilled feel by eastern-tinged strings and Jon Foreman's forceful vocals. This fits its relatively light subject - escaping to the coast - and captures the essence of the film. In contrast, "Slow Down My Heartbeat" sweeps the listener under a darker, deeper wave. Creative and moody, it's an adrenalin-rush of a track with some really spine-tingling moments that deserves to be played loud. The beautiful, vulnerable "What It Costs" is a very special inclusion, being bassist Tim Foreman's debut singing lead vocals. The song was written for brother Jon when an emergency caused them to make the hard decision, captured in the film, to cancel a tour, but the song's message of love, pain and loyalty is universal. Emerging from the depths, crisp vocals and shimmery keys and guitars launch the uplifting, poppy worship track "Liberty", with its message of total reliance on God. Jon's voice is on top form here with great dynamics from its softest edges to a gritty climax. The project's subtitle sells it short. This is some of their best work.
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