Switchfoot “Where the Light Shines Through” Album Review


Prime Cuts:  Float, I Won't Let You Go, The Day that I Found God

Switchfoot returned to its surf culture roots with "Fading West," where ocean-inspired reverbs and sandy percussion were its sunny-sounding canopy.  Such a recess from their post-punk rock sound has done the group well.  Sounding rejuvenated and packed with more grace-gilled melodies, "Where the Light Shines in" is easily one of Switchfoot's best albums to date.  Rather than falling back on their heavy rock default sound, the sounds here are more purposeful and more varied.  Parts of the album still retain the Switchfoot grunge vibe, but this is also balanced by some more restrained and mellow ballads as well. 

Switchfoot's journey began in 1997 with the first of three indie releases before signing with a major label in 2003. Since then, the San Diego, CA based outfit have sold 5.7 million copies worldwide of their nine studio albums (including 2003's The Beautiful Letdown and 2009's GRAMMY Award-winning, Hello Hurricane). Where The Light Shines Through marks the band's return to the indie world and showcases that, two decades from their start, they're able to have a career filled with longevity, revitalization and rejuvenation.

"Where the Light Shines Through" is the band's 10th album and the years of recording, writing and touring have given Switchfoot a wizened depth to their songs.  The title cut "Where the Light Shines Through" is easily one of the best treatise on suffering that is both Biblically responsible as well as creative. As suffering has a way of making feel alien to the world, the use of the space imagery to underscore the theme of how God can use our pain for his glory is just sublime.  In a musical culture where imagery is sneered, take a listen to "Holy Waters." Here you will be engulfed by the vividness of the song that you can't help but "see" the song unfold like a breathtaking movie before your eyes. 

Partnering with Lecrae over some hip hop beats is "Looking for America."  The rhetorical use of questions in the midst of the song reaps some serious soul-searching rewards. Then Switchfoot gets to the dance floor with "Float," which also boasts some Prince-like guitar riffs that the late Purple Highness would be proud of.  Recalling back some of the older Switchfoot sound is the swaggering "If the House Burns Down Tonight."  They get into some heart-wrenching moments with the story song "The Day I Found God," which contains the moving line: "The day I lost myself was the day that I found God."

"I Won't Let You Go" is the reason why this reviewer is a Switchfoot fan.  Never ones to shy from the complexities of life, yet still able to find the peace in life's chaos, "I Won't Let You Go" is faith in its most palatable form.  Forget all the manufactured and manicured songs out there.  If you want songs that engage the messiness of life and yet do not betray the truth of Scripture, check this album out immediately.  


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