This review originally appeared on NewReleaseToday.com.
The second installment of Jon Foreman’s 4 EP, 24 song series is titled Shadows. Jon has said of this set “these six songs are to accompany the end of the day– the light is fading, the darkness is growing and the night is almost here.”
Musically, the shift in mood from the last EP is instantly perceptible and distinct. Here the whimsy of Sunlight is replaced by earnesty, the lilting pop tone tempered by more haunting melodies and hollowed out arrangements. Opener “Ghost Machine” recognizes our digital vices, mournfully commenting on the ubiquitous smartphone “my idolatry’s in the pocket of my coat.”
“My Coffin” picks up where Sunlight’s “Terminal” left off, with a sound similarly stripped back to acoustic guitar and gentle percussion as it reflects on mortality and death’s redemption (“through Maker’s death / death is unmade“). “Siren’s Song” builds from a slow slide guitar, a suitably haunting melody married to imagery of the ocean that has been so integral to Foreman’s writing to build a song of call and desire.
Although all of the songs have a bit of an edge, the writing remains intelligent and at times unexpected. “Fake Your Own Death” challenges the listener to resurrected life: “Fake your own death and come alive / Fake your own death and live the life you’ve always been afraid of living.” “Good for Me” is an introspective assessment of our tendency towards vices, towards “fluorescent lights” instead of “the real sun.”
Lead single “Your Love Is Enough” feels like a slight non sequitur in the conversation the other songs have built, although it’s a strong and deeply reassuring track on its own. This song is the next chapter in what is now a trilogy, the prior installments being “Your Love is Strong” from Foreman’s set of seasons EPs and “Let Your Love Be Strong” from Switchfoot’s Oh! Gravity. These three songs all explore different facets of God’s love for us, as beautifully expressed in the lyrics “I find my soul here in my Maker’s arms / finally whole here in my Maker’s arms / coming home / Your love is enough.”
When assembling songs that have been written over the course of a decade, in countless different locations in his personal life and his career, a significant challenge was posed to Jon Foreman to make them coherent as a whole, as a narrative. Shadows shows us that he has risen to that challenge admirably, with this EP turning down the lights lit by Sunlight just enough to draw out the more haunting, introspective elements of Foreman’s writing. Anticipation remains high for the second half of the series.