Summer is not only the latest installment in Jon Foreman's four-part solo EP series, it also marks the end of our journey. Late last year, listeners were introduced to the solo musings from Switchfoot's celebrated frontman with Fall, the first of what would be four EP's following the seasons of the year. Foreman's deliciously weary and often melancholy vocals, along with a folk / acoustical format, were the perfect brushes to paint the landscape of Fall and Winter. Spring introduced a bit of a more feisty flare, but also retained much of the vibe of the previous seasons. With Summer, Foreman takes us out in a similar fashion to how he brought us in, if not in more of a summertime campfire vibe than anything else.
If there's something we've come to expect from EP to EP from Jon Foreman, it's that each one will include introspective criticism, a poetic look at love and loss, and an artistic view of spiritually, God, or the church. "A Mirror Is Harder To Hold" falls in line with songs like "The Cure For Pain" or "Learning How To Die," both musically and in the tone and feel of the song. But it's "Resurrect Me" where the tempo picks up and you get the first feeling that we've reached Summer. Perhaps "Mirror" can be viewed as a Summer morning with "Resurrect Me" being the peak of day. And if that's the case, then "Deep In Your Eyes" is your evening love song with "House Of God Forever" and "Again" being your late night campfire finales. But the oddball, which at the same time is a critical gem, is "Instead Of A Show" - a somewhat bitter examination of the church and the worship movement. In some ways, it's come just in time for the Summer festivals as Foreman flat-out attacks the worship scene for focusing more on the appearance of things than something more important, such as social justice ("I hate all your show and pretense/ The hypocrisy of your praise/ The hypocrisy of your festivals/ I hate all your show/ Away with your noisy worship/ Away with your noisy hymns/ I stop up my ears when your singing 'em/ I hate all your show") . Where Foreman could have strictly used the song to complain about what he sees wrong with the church or believers taking part in worship corporately and outwardly, he rounds out his view by presenting a solution instead of just dwelling on the problem ("Instead let there be a flood of justice/ An endless precession of righteous living/ Instead of a show"). It's a rebuke that will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows and cause a stir, but Foreman isn't exactly out of line in pointing out such problems through a song. And to balance out the criticism, Jon closes the record (and series, for that matter) with two beautiful original acoustic worship songs, "The House Of God Forever" and "Again" (with the latter praying, "Answer me oh Lord / Let Your people know / That You are turning our hearts back to You / Again").
While Fall may arguably be the strongest batch of songs from Jon Foreman's solo career, Summer is another fine addition and hopefully not the last we'll hear from this inspiring artist for too long. Listeners have been spoiled to be receiving six new Foreman tracks every two months or so now. And if anyone was disappointed at all with the Winter or Spring EP's, Summer is a great collection of acoustic and folk songs for anyone looking for something different to listen to that digs deepers than the norm.- Review date: 5/25/08 by John DiBiase of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Lowercase People/Credential Recordings
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