With a rich catalogue of intricately-written songs and a 2011 Grammy Award for Best Rock Gospel Album in their back pocket, this Alternative Rock band from San Diego has delivered yet another brilliantly uplifting album. Right from the get-go, the thundering beat of the opening track, “Love Alone is Worth the Fight,” draws you immediately into the airy, stadium-sized songs that this album has in store for the listener.
However, it’s not all thumping beats; “Slipping Away” provides a slower, yet bubbly experience in which frontman Jon Foreman’s raw vocals demonstrate the lost and ‘lonely’ lyrics of the song. “Saltwater Heart” is somewhat reminiscent of The 1975’s work, with a definitive beat backing the driving 1980s synthesized sound behind multi-layered vocals. “All Or Nothing At All” is an exciting, head-bobbing track with synthesizers and guitars a-plenty, that, with the help of striking echoing vocals, is a testament to the band’s Christian roots; they want to live as either righteous beings, or not at all. It’s a simple yet gripping song that provokes existentialist thoughts on life itself.
This theme recurs throughout the album, with the opening track initially asking the question, “Is it fear that you’re afraid of?” Switchfoot then guides the listener on an 11-song journey through existence, love, and the importance of “being” as something we use to shape ourselves. It is “through the open door that we find what we’re made of.” The band drops the overwhelming question on the listener: “What are you waiting for?”
They then invite you to figure it out through self-realization and experiences. This album is an experience in itself, one that invites you to let the band tell you, “Life is short / We don’t’ care so let it out.” Fading West is a fantastic, exhilarating, and extremely well-made piece of work. You should do just what they say: listen to it, invest in it, and take from it all, or nothing at all—it’s your choice.