As far as Christian rock bands go, Switchfoot are remarkably versatile. The sounds of their albums varies wildly, from the glossy folk-pop of The Beautiful Letdown, to the crunchy near-metal of Vice Verses. Float, the new single from the band’s upcoming album Where the Light Shines Through, embodies yet another new sound, melding fuzzy, indie-rock guitars and recording styles, with pop hooks.
The track is fairly simple in its construction. It combines a steady drum beat with stabs of guitar chords, and a funky bassline. Whilst it’s easy to bop one’s head to, it’s far from distinctive. Most of the song’s energy comes from the vocal melodies, especially the warm harmonies in the chorus.
Unfortunately, said vocals are marred by fairly vapid lyrics, with most lines either meaning very little – “turn it up so I can feel it” – or being utterly nonsensical – “baby’s in that slow emotion / moonwalking on the ocean”. Only the bridge makes any attempt at depth, but it comes across as faux-profundity – “away from the crowds where you realise / the herd’s insecure or free the mind” – without actually saying much of note.
Float, whilst a perfectly pleasant listen, just isn’t catchy or unique enough to be memorable. The instrumental is largely generic, and the effective vocals are undone by poor lyricism. They’ve always been a fairly chameleonic band, but Float just goes to show how much Switchfoot need to find a sound that’s truly their own.