Music Review Archive
Music Review: Switchfoot, "Vice Re-Verses"
Title: Vice Re-Verses
Label: lowercase people/Credential Recordings
Switchfoot, the gold standard in modern faith-influenced rock music, presents Vice-Reverses, a limited edition remix project with the same degree of cultural cool and creative finesse listeners have come to expect from the multi-platinum, GRAMMY-winning band. Master tracks from last year’s duly acclaimed Vice Verses album were handed over to Darren King (MUTEMATH), Adam Young (Owl City), JT Daly (Paper Route), and British producer/deejay Photek, who show us what Switchfoot might have sounded like as a dance act in Europe during the electronic ‘80s.
Daly’s take on “The Original” retains the original’s (ha) soulful rock foundation but ramps up the tune’s ’60 kitsch with Chipmunks vocal effects and trippy beats; Austin Powers would dig it. Young gives “Blinding Light” the Owl City treatment—reprogramming what was once another U2-complex piece into a sugary pop moment that could have defined the soundtrack to an angst-fueled John Hughes film back in the day.
“Selling the News” gives good space to what debuted as a frenetic song, letting it stretch out here into a mildly robotic groove that Photek may be summoning from old New Order and Pet Shop Boys twelve-inch singles. In a similar manner, Daly revises Vice Verses’ defining single “Dark Horses,” stripping it back and clouding it over into something Depeche Mode or The Cure would like to have composed.
King approaches “Vice Verses” as if it were a dream, scratching up Jon Foreman’s lead vocal and adjusting the beats between the echoing verses and more focused choruses like two separate levels of consciousness. Switchfoot’s own Drew Shirley and Jerome Fontamillas team up on “The War Inside,” an especially chilled out drum and bass mix that would play well deep in the night.
Relative unknown Neon Feather won a spot on Vice Re-Verses through an online contest by remixing “Afterlife.” This tightened up version churns the current Vice Verses single away from predictable grungy rock into a more refreshing dance-pop setting.
It should also be noted you only get “Afterlife” on the digital edition ($6.99) that’s available now. A physical CD ($5.00) featuring the first six songs lands in stores on June 2. And it’s worth noting this project originated as a Record Store Day exclusive back in April, when a very limited edition CD was issued featuring all seven selections.
Whatever version you come across, it’s a nice treat for any serious Switchfoot fan.