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Thursday, September 18, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 50.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Switchfoot: Fading West
(Atlantic Records)

Inspired by the their 2012 world tour, Switchfoot's Fading West looks at what happens when you face life's challenges and find pleasure on the other side of the pain. Its content isn't as thought-provoking as 2005's Nothing Is Sound or 2011's Vice Verses, but if you're looking for something ebullient along the lines of 2006's Oh! Gravity, this is probably up your alley.

Filled with rapturous pop-rock numbers like "Let It Out" and "Come Alive," Fading West feels like that blessed first exhale after a period of struggle. The message of "Love Alone Is Worth the Fight" is uplifting, and "The World You Want" offers the album's most introspective lyrics: "Is this the world you want?/Every day you're making it."

Many of the songs sound similar, so there is less variety than usual, but I really like the fuzzy, drone-like rock atmospherics of "BA55," which recalls Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Possess Your Heart." While Fading West is not Switchfoot's deepest effort, it may well be their most joyful.

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