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Music Review: The Switches – Lay Down The Law

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Once upon a time, British pop bands had abrasive guitars and cocky attitudes. Or maybe it was cocky guitars and abrasive attitudes. Whichever, or both, this was a sound that comes around in cycles and sometimes gets washed over the pond to the US.

Among the first were The Rolling Stones as an antidote to the melodies of The Beatles. Among the last was Oasis, the final hurrah in the wave that carried over Bush, Blur, and to a lesser extent the London Suede. Lately, the big export has been Coldplay along with their very clean, emotional, and ethereal sounding inevitable clones.

Now the crunch and snotty sneer are back with the Switches new album, Lay Down The Law. It’s everything that a fan of Brit-pop with attitude will love. From the open crunch of “Drama Queen” to the ending strangulation of the final track “Testify,” you hear elements of T-Rex, Bowie, and ELO all jumbled up with lyrics paying homage to drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Just like a good arena rock album should.

The influences are easily discernable and it is no surprise that the band, particularly lead vocalist/guitarist Matt Bishop, lists them prominently in the credits. If you are a fan of that style, you will not be disappointed with this album.

The best tracks are “Drama Queen,” “Lay Down The Law” (the first two singles), “The Need To Be Needed” (which will never be a single due to the lyrics, but should be due to depth), and “Stepkids In Love.” But there are no bad tracks to be found here.

Get in your car, put the top and windows down, crank it up and ignore your neighbors. Better yet, flip them the bird as you smoke the tires. That’s how the Switches want it and that’s when this album is at its best.

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About Russ Evenhuis

I'm a writer with a mid-life crisis. I'm into sports of all kind, a Seattle fan to my bones. A retired rugby player, now I punish myself with triathlons when I'm not hanging out with the family, drinking Guinness and playing PlayStation.