Limbs & Branches

Limbs & Branches

Culled from a pair of 2007 EPs, Limbs and Branches offers the essence of Jon Foreman’s recent solo explorations. These lo-fi recordings are small gems of longing and insight, deceptively understated in approach. Foreman forsakes the driving pop-rock of his band Switchfoot in favor of acoustic guitar-centered tracks colored by sad trumpets and moody strings. The songs are informed by his Christian faith, if not always explicitly spiritual in content. Issues of mortality are very much on his mind, reflected in disquieting tunes like “Learning How to Die” and the newly-recorded “Broken from the Start.” His love songs — especially “Behind Your Eyes” and “A Mirror is Harder to Hold” — match subtle, conflicted lyrics to lilting melodies. There are tough-minded moments here, with “Instead of a Show” (a scathing commentary on Christian hypocrisy) and “Resurrect Me” (a ferocious self-indictment) making the strongest impression. Framing the album is the luminous folk/pop hymn “Your Love Is Strong” and the dark yet hopeful “Over the River.” Throughout, Foreman seems to be unburdening himself, using the recording process as an act of confession. Limbs and Branches is a cogent introduction to Foreman’s private musings, sometimes unsettling but deeply rewarding.

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