Music: Jon Foreman – Limbs and Branches

There’s been lots of music added to our collection since I last did a “review”, but something quite special has happened and it’s prompted me to write!

I’ve been a pretty big fan of American, surf-rockers, Switchfoot, for a while now.  Talented songwriting (something I value highly in my music), great music, a variety of styles, and some reflections on politics and faith mixed in for good measure.  I’m not quite as much of a fan as one friend of mine who declared a gig in London “the most important event of the year” (or something similar), but they’re pretty high up my list.

Anyway, I somehow found out that their frontman, Jon Foreman, had somehow found time to do some solo stuff.  It seems he made 4 EP’s, one for each season, and then did a compilation of the best of them called “Limbs and Branches”, with a couple of new songs thrown in for good measure.

Now, it’s not often I put a CD on and immediately declare that “I like it”.  But this is exactly what happened with L&B.  It’s not even entirely my style – I like my rock a bit more upbeat.  But Foreman’s solo efforts show why he’s the frontman of a highly successful band that’s crossed from the obscurity of Christian rock, into the American Mainstream.

The songs are art; words and ideas crafted into musical poetry.  The execution is slick.  It’s well-produced, but not over-produced, retaining a slighly raw edge.  There’s even a guest appearance from Sarah Masen, who adds some handy female depth and variety to Foreman’s passionate vocals.

Songs are mostly quite downbeat and there’s tension and drama, but I find that Foreman, unlike other folk rockers, retains more of a hopeful edge.

Christian references are more prominent than with Switchfoot – the opening track is based on The Lord’s Prayer.  This may put some off.  But if you like some mellow, gritty, folk rock storytelling on your shelf, this deserves a look.

Oh, and if you ever wanted to buy me a pretty lavish gift, track down Foreman’s accoustic guitar, amp and any other kit he used to make this record – the instrument sings something quite beautiful!!!

Hey, I can dream!