Switchfoot – Interrobang Album Review

Release Date: August 20, 2021

Switchoot has been one of those bands that I’ve listened to from the beginning. In many ways they’ve felt like big brothers guiding me along in life starting in high school and into adulthood with their raw surf-rock stylings and philosophical bent. Now, in their twenty-fourth year as a band and with their twelfth full-length album titled Interrobang, the band continues to churn out great tunes to soundtrack the lives of their listeners. 

First things first, this set of songs is the strongest and most interesting since fan favorite Vice Versesin 2011. While the albums in-between had glimmers of brilliance, they fell just short of top tier in their discography. Any small gripe I had about filler tracks with Where the Light Shines Through or Native Tongue has been answered with Interrobang. This is a true career catalogue highlight, and I could absolutely see this album slipping into my Top 5 Switchfoot albums, it’s that good. 

Interrobang is a musical full-dive into waters only previously cautiously toe-dipped in on the rare EP Eastern Hymns for Western Shores. The song that immediately came to mind was longtime favorite for this reviewer deep cut “Daylight to Break.” Interrobang has an overall bright feel due to the use of vocal harmony, so it actually feels “other,” a direction they have yet to explore. The best musical comparison I can think of is their surf-rock filtered through the psychedelic 60s with a heavy emphasis on the glorious harmonies of The Beatles and The Beach Boys. 

They do all this without losing the core of what has defined them as a band, introspective, philosophical, yearning lyrics (though they are less explicitly “Christian”) and fantastic guitar work while adding some of the musical atmospheres and left-turns that featured on albums The Beautiful Letdown and Oh! Gravity. “Beloved” is a terrific and surprising (in a good way) way to start the album with its Beatlesque musical hook kicking in near the 1:30 mark. Other favorites are rockers “Florescent,” “If I Were You,” the passionate and driving mid-tempo rocker “Splinter,” and the slow simmer of first single “I Need You to be Wrong.” In addition, I’ve been returning to final three songs of the album, enjoying the ominous vibe of the string section drum combo on “Wolves,” the sincere acoustic groove of “Backwards in Time,” and sweet sentiment of closer “Electricity.” The latter features Beach Boys-soaked harmonies, and drew me in upon first listen all the way through to the last notes. It’s a fantastic close to a very strong album. This is a must for 2021, fans of the band, and is sure to make a play for Top 10 album of the year for this long-time fan.

Track by track:

“beloved” – 5 stars

Great track with its unexpected Beatles-inspired musical swing. This will Probably make my top 25 Switchfoot songs someday.

“lost a cause” – 4 stars

A pleasant guitar hook makes for a good if not middle of the road Switchfoot song.

“fluorescent” – 4.5 star

This one is a strong tune with string stabs and muted guitars until it roars to life in the chorus. Super catchy upbeat track.

“if I were you” – 4.5 stars

Love the nod back to “New Way to be Human” music video in the video for this one. Rock with Beach Boys harmonies? Yes please!

“bones of us” – 4.5 stars

Tender slow tune.

“splinter” – 5 stars

If it weren’t for “Beloved” this would be my favorite track not previously released as a single. Prototypical Switchfoot but if the top-tier variety.

“I need you (to be wrong)” – 5 stars

I still dig this one and all it’s weirdness. Background vocals are probably my favorite feature aside from the lyric, “got a fish for a lower lip.

“the hard way” – 3.5 stars

Not a bad song but the only one that strikes me as forgettable.

“wolves” – 4.5 stars

The stringed instruments make for an ominous and creepy feel. I’m here for it.

“backwards in time” – 4.5 stars

Again, I hate to harp on vocals but this song does it for me too.

“electricity” – 5 stars

Excellent closer that fades out with Beach Boys glory.

Total = 4.54545

Overall: 4.5 Stars

Final Word: Incredible use of harmonious vocals to bring close the listener and get across the message of unity woven throughout the whole album. This album is very 60s experimental Beach Boys and Beatles, specifically Pet sounds and Sgt. Pepper, combined with Switchofoot’s brand of rock. Guitars are everywhere but have a more muted/compressed sound. This use of restraint seems intentional, further putting across the message of the need for each other. musically all wrapped in harmony to draw the artist and listener together. Career highlight. Top tier Switchfoot.

Here’s a few other opinions: https://www.jesusfreakhideout.com/cdreviews/Interrobang.asp

You might be interested: Every Switchfoot Song Ranked, Ranking Switchfoot