Jon Foreman - Fall
Record Label: Lowercase People Records / Credential Recordings
Release Date: November 27, 2007
Earlier this year, Switchfoot departed from Columbia Records to explore their independent label Lowercase People Records, following the trend of bands desiring to have increasing control over their production and artistic output. Lead vocalist Jon Foreman was always an aspiring poet surrounded by a band, so it came with little surprise that he would take this opportunity to express himself in ways he couldn't with the full band.
Fall is the first installment of Foreman's four-part seasonal solo project, and it has a relaxed, refreshing vibe. Foreman's acoustic picking and strumming recalls "Circles" or "Let Your Love Be Strong" from Switchfoot's most recent album, but his guitar work is subtly accented by the warm tones of varying instruments, including the trumpet, organ, cello, and clarinet. The harmonica on "Southbound Train" lends an easy front-porch country feel as the low, sharp strings create a surprisingly satisfying imitation of a chugging train. The rhythm is carried more classically, and it was only after several listens that I realized with a shock that there are no drums or percussion on this EP. Foreman avoids the recent trends toward greater ambience, instead creating a complete sound in simplicity, and overall the EP has a pleasant and refreshingly natural, acoustic sound.
Foreman is a pioneer of the "Christians-but-not-a-Christian-band" paradigm in the never-ending definition wars, and his lyrics with Switchfoot have gradually transitioned from the open cries to God like "Only Hope" to the more poetic reflections on life and purpose on such gems as "Faust, Midas, and Myself." Thus, it is interesting that here he is as expressive of his faith as he's ever been. "Equally Skilled" contrasts human wickedness with the powerful justice of God.
Shying away from a cohesively conceptual project (like Thrice's elemental Alchemy Index), Foreman perhaps uses "Fall" simply as a reference to the dying state of mankind, declaring in the opening song, “I've spent ten years singing gravity away / But the water keeps on falling from the sky." But he doesn't expound on this theme or offer solutions. In fact, Foreman seems almost relieved to take a break from trying to save the world from its materialism and help it find a purpose. He is content to express his personal longings for home and completeness.
As Foreman closes with simple, echoing piano chords, softly chanting, "If you love her, let her go,” he leaves us satisfied, patiently awaiting the installment of Winter, not knowing where he's going, but confident he will continue to pursue truth in his own expressive way.
Ha, no big deal. Good catch, actually... but yeah I was mainly just highlighting that it's not your run-of-the-mill stuff because throughout there's no drummer keeping time/rhythm... but it's done well enough that you don't even notice that. At least I didn't until suddenly I was like... wait a minute... I had to listen to it again to make sure.
"But he doesn't expound on this theme or offer solutions."
You know, I've read several reviews of Switchfoot albums over the years that have mentioned the same thing. Seems to be one of the main critiques of his writing and on certain occasions I would tend to agree but I also agree with the analysis here that he simply seems "relieved and content..."
Good review. I was thinking of buying this off iTunes.