Vice Verses

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If 2009's Hello Hurricane was a return to the straightforward alt rock anthems of Switchfoot's 2003 breakthrough The Beautiful Letdown, then 2011's Vice Verses delivers more of the same with a few production left-turns thrown in. Ballyhooed as a kind of showcase for the band's rhythm section, Vice Verses nonetheless still features lead singer/songwriter Jon Foreman and the passionate, rock uplift the Christian-centric band is known for. Much like their similarly inclined predecessor U2, Switchfoot have grown somewhat experimental in their middle age while never totally relinquishing the rock anthem mantle. To these ends, we get the melodic dance-rocker "The Original," the epic drama of the light acid rock anthem "The War Inside," and the sprawlingly romantic "Restless." Similarly engaging is the hummable electro-ballad "Thrive" and the intimate and yearning acoustic title track. If the band missteps a few times, especially with the culture-of-fear, media critique spoken word piece "Selling the News," you can chalk it up to that U2-esque mid-career experimentation. Ultimately, Vice Verses finds Switchfoot in a creatively energized and committed state of mind that should please longtime fans and produce more than a few ear-catching moments. Also included here is a second disc featuring a live concert the band gave at Center Stage in Atlanta.

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