Fiction Family is the brainchild of Switchfoot's Jon Foreman and Nickel Creek's Sean Watkins.
It's a peculiar pair, to say the least. But these long time friends have slowly and meticulously created an eclectic
sound not barred by mainstream cliches and norms. It is the kind of unlikely union you scratch your head at, and then praise.
The whole thing has an old-school CCM feel to it, paying homage to classic Switchfoot, but with eccentric touches no
doubt constructed by Nickel Creek's former guitarist. Though it would be easy to simply say that Fiction Family sounds like
what would happen with Switchfoot and Nickel Creek had a kid, the complexity runs deeper. There are touches of Bon Iver
along the way, and other ambient acoustical acts. Every track on this self-titled debut is of a completely different
construction than the song before it, and each has its own story to tell. From the simple acoustic ballad
"Not Sure," about being unable to let go of a lover, to the catchy, fun, ready-for-radio "When She's Near," to the Bon
Iver-esque "Elements Combined"... every song has its own feel. It's a welcomed change from the norm. Both men take turns on
lead vocals, and while it is apparent that Jon Foreman is the one with the longer career as a singer, Sean Watkins has an
enduring quality to his voice that fits very nicely on this project.
We didn't have to wait long for the first great release of 2009. This collaborative effort was on the burner for a long
time before it saw the eventual light of day, and it shows. Each song is meticulously crafted, and strikingly different
from the eleven other songs on the record. Here's to hoping that "debut album" implies there is much more to come from this
most enticing partnership.
- Review date: 1/18/09, written by Josh Taylor
Lucky us. After being treated to a series of solo EP's by the Switchfoot frontman, Jon Foreman has paired up with fellow
musician Sean Watkins (of Nickel Creek fame) to create indie folk act Fiction Family. Quite a departure from what many
Switchfoot fans are accustomed to, this release would share more similarities with Jon Foreman's earlier Fall, Winter, Spring
and Summer EP's…but even then the parallels drawn between the projects are not as numerous as one would
initially imagine. Things are off to a good start with "When She's Near," a slightly Beatles-esque folk-pop
tune that deserves heavy radio airplay. None of the other tracks are nearly as upbeat, which was initially a
disappointment, but I soon accepted them as they are. I'm glad I did. It's a pleasant throwback
to the era of such artists as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Crosby, Stills and Nash. I sincerely hope that Jon Foreman
and Sean Watkins collaborate further to continue producing quality music like this.
- Adam Dawson of Jesusfreakhideout.com