Debuting at #8 on Billboard’s Top 100, Vice Verses charted new territory for Switchfoot. Building on the new-found freedom on their own independent label called “lowercase people,” Switchfoot expands the sound of Hello Hurricane, experimenting with beats and styles reminiscent of the hip-hop genre. Vice Verses has been critically acclaimed and one of Switchfoot’s best reviewed albums to date. Their eighth studio album includes the radio hits “Dark Horses” and “Afterlife,” not to mention “Restless” and the fan-favorite “Where I Belong.”
Inspired by spontaneous re-mixes of singles from Hello Hurricane, the San Diego rockers have put out a seven-song EP titled Vice Re-Verses, letting various musicians remix singles from Vice Verses.
Adam Young of Owl City does a phenomenal job of re-mixing “Blinding Light,” adding his unique sound but leaving the original song intact and actually making it even better. The other standout from the album is the winner of Switchfoot’s “Afterlife” re-mix contest, launched so that amateurs could have a platform to show off their skills. The winner, credited as Neon Feather, makes “Afterlife” into an epic masterpiece of flash and soaring sounds that echo the soundtrack of the movie Tron: Legacy.
The rest of the album is hit-or-miss. JT Daly of Paper Route had the honor of producing two remixes: “The Original” treads the line between energetic and obnoxious with nasally “Na-nas.” Conversely, “Dark Horses” is much quieter, sounding like it was recorded in a vacuum, as if the listener is traveling through space. Both are good in their own way.
“Selling the News” is remixed by Photek. It has really interesting background sounds, but overall it strips down the song too much and is extremely repetitive. In truth, it’s hard to remix that song, because the original version is so well-produced.
Darren King remixed “Vice Verses,” which isn’t really a remix kind of song. He distorts Jon Foreman’s voice and adds an array of echoing drums and electronic sounds that overpower the lyrics.
Finally, the remix for “The War Inside” is produced by Drew and Jerome, who play guitar and keyboard respectively as members of Switchfoot. They slow down and strip down the song, letting selections of the lyrics breathe while featuring the catchy progression of the keys, which are featured at the end of the original version.
For longtime Switchfoot fans, Vice Re-Verses is a great item to include in your collection with a unique spin on each song. For the more casual fans, there are a couple songs that you should definitely consider purchasing. Overall, it’s more proof that Switchfoot is a band willing to take risks and stretch their sound into new territory, while staying true to their alternative roots.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 || Favorites: “Blinding Light” by Adam Young, “Afterlife” by Neon Feather