Switchfoot – Covers (EP Review)

Throughout the years, Switchfoot has continued to remain a positive influence on the Alternative Rock scene despite the world’s ups and downs. Their latest, Covers EP, set for release on Friday, June 19th via Fantasy Records, contains covers of songs with powerful messages of peace, the power of never backing down, and finding acceptance in one’s self. 

One of their many EP releases through the years, Covers consist of 6 songs that clearly mean something to the band themselves. It all starts with Frank Ocean’s “Swim Good,” and takes a slightly calmer approach, beat-wise, to its forebear. With their take on the 2011 release from Ocean, Switchfoot put their twist on the track, incorporating reverb guitars and a keyboard-driven instrumentation. However, the message remains melancholy; singing of doing whatever is needed to get rid of internal, emotional pain.

A brighter message shines through in the next song, Vampire Weekends’ 2019 smash, “Harmony Hall,” with a ‘jam by the campfire’ approach, creating a restful yet colorful tone to this ever powerful song. That said, the message of accepting the past in order to create change in the future remains ever-present and is a centric reason this song was chosen for the EP.

Moving on, the third track, “Stupid Deep,” from Jon Bellion’s 2018 album Glory Sound Prep, takes a heavier turn. In comparison, Switchfoot applies a stronger guitar-centered sound than that of Bellion, whose original is focused on synthesizers and creating more of a Hip Hop swinging beat. Creating resonance on the message of love, and finding the need for love within the self, Switchfoot takes the message to a warmer place, as if they are speaking to you and you alone. 

They continue to carry this message of love and self acceptance in the next cover, The Verve’s “Lucky Man.” Originally released in 1997 from the same artists who delivered the classic British Stadium piece “Bittersweet Symphony,” Switchfoot create the same power ballad manor as the original. Jon Foreman’s gritty and smokey vocals create a more vibrant demeanor in the melody while enforcing the message of the beginning lyric “it’s just a change.” Instrumentally, Jermon Fontamilla’s keys take more of the forefront along with the vocals, while violins played a larger role in the original. 

Next, Switchfoot ups the ante, covering a song by one of the most popular Pop singers of the moment, Harry Styles. Their version of the 2019 hit “Lights Up” is a funkier, bass-prominent version of this chart topper. “All the lights couldn’t put out the dark,” continues to create the directive of being the best versions of ourselves and fighting for what’s right. All this before the EP closes out with “Sick Boy,” a song by hitmakers The Chainsmokers. Heavy-hitting guitar strums take this cut to a chant-style instrumentation as crescendoing volumes play a part to elaborate on the importance of the message.

Switchfoot has always been a strong example of positivity and doing good in the lives of others, through the face of adversity and our ever-changing world. Despite the current pandemic, the band has released a strong cover EP that provides a mantra that we all need right now; to stay open-minded with a will to love oneself and fight for what is right. Covers, and the songs contained in it, tackles a wide variety of artists, ranging from the indie to the well-known, creating a listening experience that has something for everyone. For this, Cryptic Rock gives the Covers 4 out of 5 stars. 

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