San Diego rock outfit Switchfoot stepped up to the majors with 2003's THE BEAUTIFUL LETDOWN. But prior to their Columbia/RED debut the band released three albums of strong material on Christian rock producer Charlie Peacock's re:Think label. This generous three-disc box collects those albums under one cover, charting the evolution of Switchfoot's edgy, melodic alt-rock. Like many bands of their ilk, Switchfoot are inspired by grunge and pop-punk, with a heavy dose of emo in their introspective themes and lyrics.
Switchfoot's penchant for catchy hooks and smart song-craft is immediately apparent on THE LEGEND OF CHIN, the group's first effort. Despite its low-fidelity production, CHIN boasts glimmers of quirky power pop ("Underwater") and anthemic rock ("Life and Love and Why"). The band's sound and songwriting develop through NEW WAY TO BE HUMAN with the push-pull rhythms of "Company Car" and the sweeping balladry of "Only Hope," with heightened attention to instrumental interplay. By LEARNING TO BREATHE, Switchfoot had sacrificed some of their idiosyncrasies for a more focused, mainstream rock sound, evident in the title track, yet retained their pop sensibility on cuts like "Innocence Again." Overall, this box offers a sizable snapshot of a young band's promising first steps.