Sound — 9
While Switchfoot's previous album was written all on the road, this album was written at home, where they could relax, surf, and take time out to think without the pressures of being touring. This shows heavily on their latest acclomplishment, which, in my honest opinion, is their best record to date. The sound on this album is experimental, as opposed to the one sound they used on Nothing Is Sound to create a depressing atmosphere. This time around, the boys play around with sounds more, so that although it sounds like Switchfoot, you don't get that feeling that all the songs on the record sound the same. From the punchy "Oh! Gravity", to slow songs like "Yesterdays" and "Let Your Love Be Strong", to the anthemic choruses of "Awakening" and "Circles", and even the rhythm deprived "Amatuer Lovers", Switchfoot show-case their abilities to write catchy songs that stray JUST far enough from mainstream sound to be distinguishible.
Lyrics — 8
This time around, the lyrics seem to take a hit. Where the Jon's consistant writing used to be are just the same messages that keep getting bashed and bashed into the listeners head until you feel that materialism is the only thing he sings about. These songs are not by any means sub-par; they are redeemed by the actual lyrical talent of Jon Foreman and his ability to pen songs that make you think. However, songs like "Yesterdays", "Faust, Midas, And Myself", and "Awakening" don't carry on this trend, making them stand out. Also, they seem to be more 'christian' this time around, with the lyrics in songs like "Let Your Love Be Strong" and "Head Over Heels (In This Life)" obviously talking about God; this will please those who thought the lyrical content of 'Nothing Is Sound' didn't have enough of their christian side in it.
Overall Impression — 9
After the dissapointment that was 'Nothing Is Sound', Switchfoot hit the mark, for thier 2nd great album. Where their previous album seemed unsure and scattered, this one ties in all the different sounds with ease, without seeming in-cohesive or incostistent. Instant favourites like "Dirty Second Hands" and "Awakening" are the highlights of this masterpiece. While songs lik "4:12" and "American Dream" feel like filler, they are by no mean unlistenable; but the standards do drop a little bit. Asides from that, this is both lyrically and musically impressive, taking their sounds in new directions. Good directions.