Jon Foreman is a busy man. Last year he released four solo EPs, he’s been working on the new Switchfoot album that will probably be out later this year and several weeks ago he released his latest project known as Fiction Family. Fiction Family is the collaboration of Foreman and Nickel Creek’s Sean Watkins. Being a fan of Jon Foreman’s work I was sure his contribution to this album would be good however not knowing much about Sean Watkins I wasn’t sure whether he would add or take away from the album as a whole.
Stylistically the album plays like a mellower Switchfoot album with a little country thrown in the mix; Foreman and Watkins providing their influence respectively. Watkins isn’t a great singer and certainly doesn’t have Foreman’s song writing abilities but his songs hold their own. I particularly enjoyed his track “Not Sure.” Watkins clearly gives this album a touch that would be lacking otherwise. Foreman’s tracks are all solid and he adds some great harmonies to Watkins’ songs. “Out of Order” is the one true duet on the album and is a great combination of styles and complementing vocals. Production wise there are a fair amount of ambient sounds and various effects without sounding over produced. However, a number of songs have these bizarre electronic outros that are kind of distracting.
Lyrically the album has an over all theme of love and love lost which may be a metaphor for something deeper. Foreman says of the album “The real project is just figuring out how to live.” And because the lyrics are somewhat abstract at times maybe it’s up to the listener to decide where the meaning lies. This is the thing I love most about this album. In Foreman’s past work his lyrics are always very thoughtful and deep with meaning but also very straight forward. Here he’s exploring new territory which is a sign of a great song writer.
If your a fan of any of Jon Foreman’s works you should definitely pick up this album. If you’re a fan of Nickel Creek… well I don’t if you’ll like this album or not but either way this was a good album to start off the year.