Album Review: Skylight ‘Made For More’

Skylight ‘Made For More’

Lets face it music is international,  it breaks boundaries, it goes places where other means of communication fail.
It’s a powerful tool… HOWEVER when combined with the themes of love and peace it becomes almost an unstoppable force.

Now I have to be honest, when I was told ‘Made for More’ from South African group Skylight was filled with these powerful themes I thought I was going to be stuck listening to an album full of power ballads.
I cranked up the stereo and braced for the worst.

I really loved taking the journey through this album.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a pure pop rock album… but in a pleasant way.

It’s really easy to make an album like this seem over polished,  filled with lyrics that ooze more cheese than a New York Pizza and sound like a remake of ‘My heart will go on’ by Celine Dion.
While this has it’s place and grabs imagination, there comes a point where we, the listening public, want more.

And that’s where Skylight have found the balance.

The album opens with ‘Born to Love’ – an acoustic groove and Greg Jorden crooning over the top…  before the band comes in. The track is the perfect start to this album and would sit nicely on the poppier end of a Ryan Adams album.
And while the album rests around this style and feel (a real acoustic pop rock based sound), the second song on the album ‘Give it up’ is more of a ‘power rock’ song with a style that is straight from Hollywood and California, made famous by bands like maybe Orson.

‘Made for More’ is a really clever collection of well crafted songs that would appeal to people who like bands like Lifehouse, Ryan Adams, Orson, Needtobreathe and Collective Soul.
Now I’m not saying that this band is a bland copy cat band… Skylight are far better than this…
What I am saying is that this band could easily compete in a pop/ rock world shoulder to shoulder with these better known artists.

The album is diverse and innovative. It takes the best of what we have heard and packages it in an album of songs that seem fresh and current, and real. These songs feel lived!

It’s great to hear an album that is filled with such a great feel and a great focus. Often we are bombarded with songs that are tainted with despair and gloom and it starts getting to a point where it becomes hard to see love for what it really is.
Love is more than lust, more than just a fleeting feeling, more than just a way of thinking… but something that when lived out can change the world.
And it seems fitting that that theme would be presented so well by Skylight, a  band from South Africa – a country that has had it’s own struggles and heartbreak… but through the dust a flame of love and hope and peace breaks through.

This is a great debut album.
This could be the beginning of something amazing.
And I guess that is what this album is about… it’s about telling you a story that it invites you to live.

 

 

Album Review: Switchfoot ‘Fading West’

Switch-foot – ‘Fading West’

Drummer Larry Mullen Jr. said in the U2 rockumentary ‘Rattle and Hum’ that “It’s a musical journey” and maybe this is the best way to describe the latest offering from Californian band Switchfoot. In fact to say ‘Fading West’ is an album is almost incorrect, it’s more like the soundtrack of a journey.
‘Fading West’ is a musical photo album that shows us snapshots of Switchfoot’s tour around the world, taking in the new sounds they found, the sights, the struggles and the moments of insight.
An album of fresh breath, music and the magnetic pull of the sea…

This is the most personal Switchfoot album so far… it’s so fresh you can still taste the salt from the waves they’ve just surfed!

Before I heard ‘Fading West’ album I thought, “How can Switchfoot better their previous album ‘Vice Verses’? ”
‘Vice Verses’ could be considered one of the best albums out in the past couple of years, an album that is musically gifted, emotionally challenging and yet still accessible…”

How can you beat that?

The Answer… You don’t!

Vice Verses, was Vice Verses… It was the past, lets leave it there and give it the credit it’s due!
Fading West is something new something exciting, and something daring.
It’s daring because ANY band can live on past glory by bringing out an album of 12 songs that mimic what has been done before.
However it’s a risk for a band that says “Let’s create something organic. Let’s push ourselves into the unknown. Let’s discover who we are…”

This album is maybe more mellow than most people are used to hearing from Switchfoot. The screaming guitars and grunt of something more heavy have been pushed back to an extent as the band venture into new sonic inspirations. This might make some Switchfoot fans a little uncomfortable… and that’s GREAT.
Music is there to make you feel good, but there is often nothing that challenges you more than music either and having a band take you off your usual stride is good for the soul, and challenges the band the strive for something that is just as meaningful in other ways.

This is the perfect soundtrack for those who enjoy surfing/skateboarding/snowboarding or anything that gets you away from the crushing monotony of our busy lives… it was an album made for space… of fun and adventure.

There is no doubt this is a surf pop/rock album that is meant to be the soundtrack to your adventures, just as it was for the band.

There is plenty here for everyone and while it’s not going to please those who wanted a whole album with screaming guitars and solos, there are tracks like “Let it out” and “Say it like you mean it” that will cater to that market.
Tracks such as “Love alone is worth the fight” and “Who we are” will reach out to maybe a new generation, as poppier songs that still give emotional depth seldom seen in a pop song these days.

Buy or download the Surf/Rockumentary ‘Fading West’ (the film) and you will have a greater understanding of where the songs come from… While being able to admire the AMAZING  surf skills of Rob Machado and Tom Curren.

I don’t think that this is a step in a new direction for the band…. I think it’s an album that shows the band at their most vulnerable.

SURFS UP… let this be the surf album for the adventure you were made for!