By Benjamin Whitener
Staff reporter

A storm is rising and Switchfoot is riding the wake.

Switchfoot is a quintet comprised of Jon Foreman on vocals and guitar, Tim Foreman on vocals and bass, Chad Butler on drums, Jerome Fontamillas on guitar, keyboards and background vocals and Drew Shirley on guitar and background vocals. The band was formed on 1996 with Jon and Tim Foreman and Butler. Their original name was Chin Up and after having played several shows the band was contacted by RE:think Records and eventually signed a record deal. After signing to RE:think the band changed their name to the now famous moniker of Switchfoot.

Before their first album release, Re:think was bought by Christian label Sparrow Records and the decision was made by Sparrow to market Switchfoot as a Christian only artist.

They released three records with Re:think and Sparrow. The records were entitled “The Legend of Chin,” “New Way to Be Human” and “Learning to Breathe.”

“Learning to Breathe” was the most successful of their first three albums and brought them gold certification and a Grammy nomination for best rock gospel album.

In 2002 four Switchfoot songs were incorporated into the Mandy Moore movie, “A Walk to Remember.” This caught the attention of major recording label Columbia Records who then signed Switchfoot to a record deal. The band released three records with Columbia entitled “The Beautiful Letdown,” “Nothing is Sound” and “Oh! Gravity.”

In 2007 the band broke away from Columbia Records and started their own indie label known as lowercase people records.

“Hello Hurricane” is the first release from Switchfoot on their indie record label. It was released Nov. 10, 2009. It includes 12 tracks that build upon the sound that has defined Switchfoot over the past several years.

The first single from “Hello Hurricane” is called “Mess of Me.” The song deals with getting in our own way and holding ourselves back. It talks of how we make a mess of our lives and how we need to get past the mess so that we can spend the rest of our lives living.

The song uses what is referred to as a call and response form where the instruments play something and then stop and the vocalist responds by singing. The instruments then come back in and the process repeats several times. This is a really cool format which has been around for a very long time and was very popular during the advent of rock’n’roll in the 50s.

“Hello Hurricane,” the title track, is an uplifting track that provides hope. The lyrics talk about bad things that happen in the form of a giant storm, or hurricane, and how those bad things cannot silence a person’s love.

Musically the song begins with something a little unexpected, but totally awesome, a mandolin. Not just any mandolin though, a distorted mandolin. It is a non traditional way of playing the instrument which is usually played mostly with country music. It gives the track some flavor and is part of what makes Switchfoot an ever-changing and growing band.

“Bullet Soul” is a call to take action. The band urges people to do something that matters with their life. They say that a person can’t stand by forever and ask the question, “Are you ready to go?”

The song starts with a hard driving rock riff and after listening to it a few times it sticks in your head. This is a sign of a good song.

The album as a whole represents the maturing style of Switchfoot and how far they have come as a band. They incorporate many uplifting lyrics and overall the album has a feel good sense to it.

There is no question as to whether or not the album is amazing. It is nothing short of Switchfoot awesomeness.

“Hello Hurricane” is available on CD at switchfoot.com for $12 and also at amazon.com for the same price. It can also be purchased in digital format through iTunes for $10.

Benjamin Whitener is a junior majoring in digital arts. You may e-mail him at benjamin.whitener@sckans.edu.