Switchfoot ‘interrobang’
3.5 Overall Score

For Fans Of:

Jon Foreman, NEEDTOBREATHE, The Afters

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Switchfoot ‘interrobang’

(Fantasy Records)

Switchfoot’s interrobang opens with the benediction “beloved,” written in series of statements/questions accurately expressing the album’s symbolic title, a non-standard punctuation mark indicating questions asked like they are exclamations. “I start to recognize I need you/Like you need me,” front man Jon Foreman admits during this nearly six-minute rumination. The album closes with the anthemic, melodically Beatle-eque “electricity,” featuring a lyric that posits how human-to-human created electricity is as essential as the energy flowing across powerlines. Foreman suggests turning off our cellphones and creating a much more organic current. In between these back-to-basics cries for human contact, Switchfoot has given us an emotionally compelling response to our troubled socio/political times.

Foreman gets straight to the heart of our divided culture with the guitar driven “if i were you,” which wishes for a much better national dialogue; one where we’re able to understand another’s point of view better. At one point, he compares contemporary American disunity to the Montague and Capulet clans in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Foreman longs for far fewer arguments and a whole lot more reasoning together. The quiet, string accompanied “the bones of us,” however, is a far more personal song. This is a post-argument reflection upon how best to fix a broken romantic relationship.

Switchfoot has taken a sonic approach to these songs that hearkens back to the group’s early hyperactive rock roots in many places. One called “splinter,” features keyboard/guitar textures that even recall Daniel Amos’ new wave era days. Many of the album’s tracks are jumpstarted with the group verbally counting off the songs, which lends them a live-in-the-studio feeling.

Interrobang asks more questions than it answers, but it also mostly asks all the right questions.

—Dan MacIntosh

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About The Author

Dan MacIntosh has been a professional music journalist for 30 years and his work has regularly appeared in many local and national publications, including Inland Empire Weekly, CCM, CMJ, Paste, Mean Street, Chord, HM, Christian Retailing, Amplifier, Inspirational Giftware, Stereo Subversion, Indie-Music, Soul–Audio, Roughstock.com, Country Standard Time and Spin.com.

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