San Diego rockers continue tackling the Big Questions.
Switchfoot’s sixth record, Oh! Gravity, finds the band wrestling with a pervasive sense of dissatisfaction, hauling in the usual culprits—faith, love and modern American life. From this psychic angst bursts an album that poses more questions than it answers, packed with restless dreamers and lovers spinning in endless circles. “American Dream” may come closest to some kind of solution, offering, “When success is equated with excess, the ambition for excess wrecks us,” and later proclaiming, “This ain’t my American dream.” But the same sense of dissatisfaction fueling tunes like “Faust, Midas, and Myself” and “Burn Out Bright” seems to drive the album from one genre to the next to the next, with the production feeling heavy-handed on some songs. Most awkward is the first single “Dirty Second Hands,” which the band pegs as “alt-country.” Instead it comes off like a throwaway Alice In Chains B-side, tarnishing an otherwise strong album of bitingly contemplative, rocking power pop.