Thanks to my amazing twin Courtney for whipping up this confection of a review!

Four years after their debut album, indie folk group Fiction Family returns with a new studio venture and a new label. Lead singer Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) and guitarist Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek) deliver a dynamic record, with the befitting title Fiction Family Reunion, featuring a hybrid indie pop, country folk sound married with Cali surfer vocals.

Opening track “Avelon” kicks things off with a swaying psych-pop composition evoking Pet Sounds era Beach Boys. The record’s fourth track, “Give Me Back My Girl,” takes a breather from the principal sonic theme, providing a radio-friendly jaunt that will bring Foreman’s work with Switchfoot to mind.

The major turning point of Fiction Family Reunion is the straight-forward yet powerful “God Badge”.  A serene, mellow lullaby that gradually adds orchestral strings near the end to drive home the song’s poignant lyrical content.

From “God Badge,” subsequent songs are the choice picks of Reunion. The eighth track, “Just Rob Me,” is a fun talking blues love story, with banjo-strumming and a bouncy country beat. Perhaps the piece with the most entertaining lyrics, “Just Rob Me” features gems like “my outlaw gave me in-laws.” Following that, “Reality Calls” juxtaposes a breezy and carefree tune (whistling included!) to the musings about a fling the singer wishes would grow into something more.

Fiction Family’s sophomore project is a solid work of songwriting. Paired with refined instrumentals, Fiction Family Reunion has broad appeal, for fans of folks to Switchfoot die-hards. This album is a delectable sampler of 21st century indie. It drops on the 29th of this month.