Switchfoot, an alternative rock band from San Diego, Calif., has released eight studio releases, beginning with their first album, Legend of Chin, back in 1997. Switchfoot has been consistent in their studio releases; there has not been a gap larger than three years between releases and since their last album, Vice Versus, was released in 2011, it was time for their next work to come forth. Fading West EP is a small glimpse at the studio album Fading West, that was released on Jan. 14.
Fading West EP is a three-song release, which would normally be fairly disappointing; however, with the full album already out and the EP composed of three songs from Fading West, it can serve as an example of what the album is like. The first song from the EP is “Who We Are,” which has a different feel from their previous works. The song has a distinct pop vibe that is present in many of Switchfoot’s works but usually is not the focus of the style. The lyrics are upbeat and Jon Foreman, frontman for Switchfoot, continues in his consistency in delivering lyrics with skill.
The second song on Fading West EP is “Love Alone Is Worth The Fight,” and it has a feel similar to some of the songs off of Hello Hurricane, Switchfoot’s album from 2009. The lyrics are the focus of the song, a trend that is common in Switchfoot’s works. However, a focus on lyrics does not mean a lackluster showing with regards to instrumentation, and “Love Alone Is Worth The Fight” has some great moments.
The song features a simple piano line that matches the tone of the lyrics, and the guitar and drums give the song the distinctive Switchfoot sound while still allowing for the development of something new. The verses focus mainly on drums and vocals with the chorus and pre-chorus holding most of the instrumentation.
The final song on the EP is “Ba55,” and as the title suggests, the song is driven by bass guitar. This instrument leads the start of the song and a simple rhythm on drums, giving the song a slow feeling without letting the pace drag.
About halfway through the song, guitar and background vocals kick in, giving the song a rounder sound while keeping the tension and tone from the first half of the song. It could be said that “Ba55” has a similar tone to some of the music from Vice Versus, but in reality “Ba55” is more of a branching out into a new sound rather than a reference to something that has been done before.
Switchfoot has been around for over a decade, and throughout their time as a band they have never been content to rest on past successes. With each successive album, they have taken the good from previous works and added to it to create new sounds that were immediately recognizable yet distinct from what came before. Fading West EP and Fading West represent another instance of Switchfoot developing as a band and testing their boundaries. Fading West EP is definitely worth checking out, and if the sound is appealing, the full album is also available.