Now, for the newsey pieces, with selected excerpts.
The lead singers of Switchfoot and Nickel Creek created Fiction Family, a pretty good name for an indie band. And a pretty good start on their self-titled debut with “When She’s Near,” an addictive, sugary pop song. Great stuff. So is “Elements Combined,” a sweet love song that eerily sounds like Ben Folds.
For all the nice pop, however, there are some real clunkers. “Throw It Away” is just that, a boring, depressing song that may call for the gallows. “Please Don’t Call It Love” is practically the same thing, with wimpy country strings and tired guitar strums.
Somehwere in between the effervescent pop and crawling sad songs are some middle-road folkish tunes, where the lyrics tell the tale: In “Mostly Prove Me Wrong,” they’re confusing: “I’m tired with warring songs,” sings Jon Foreman, before he says “I’m feeling like a bomb.” Well, one or the other. Or, stop being lazy and write songs like “When She’s Near.”
Take one part California-alt-surf rock, combine it with some bluesgrassy-roots, and what do you get? Acoustic indie pop, naturally. Sometimes, out of the most illogical equations come beautiful results. And that's what happened when Jon Foreman from Switchfoot teamed with his high-school friend Sean Watkins from Nickel Creek. They call it a " byproduct of a music industry in crisis" and worked on the project between the schedules of their respective bands. We call it "worth checking out"
“I was struck by the way he added something to a song without making a big deal out of it,” Foreman said of Watkins’ songwriting. “That’s one of his strengths. I’ve learned from this process that keeping things sparse has its advantages. There’s an urgency you can achieve by keeping things simple.”
With Nickel Creek on indefinite hiatus and Foreman largely concentrating on various solo projects, Fiction Family is in the middle of its first full tour together. The band makes a stop at the Gravity Lounge on Tuesday night. As for the future of this project, Foreman says the current state of things makes him hopeful it will continue down the road.
“It feels like we’ve really struck something great, not just as far as music but also personality,” he said. “We’ve already been talking about recording our next record. This feels like something we could do for a long time.
ACED Magazine (4/5)
My Central Jersey
And some pictures by Eric Anderson