Thursday, June 19, 2008

Review: Switches - Lay Down the Law

Label: Interscope Records

Released: March 18, 2008

Lay Down the Law is a collection of songs that is perfectly good in the moment. Their catchy 80s power-pop (filtered through more recent times via the Strokes) is pleasant enough, but it can't hold on to what it's caught. Even after multiple listens, there isn't a single melody here that sticks with me. Switches are the kind of crafty yet middling band that could probably play in any genre, yet truly succeed in none.

They have some very good moments like the vocal interplay on "Need to Be Needed," but more often they're simply shallow. "Drama Queen" is Switches taking on the Stones' awkward attempt at new wave a la Some Girls/Emotional Rescue. It's appropriate, because, like the Stones of that era, Switches are just plugging their songs into the genre-of-the-month. They try to plug in some credibility and edginess as well with a few drug references, but it's very superficial and disingenuous, just reinforcing how light the band really is. Lay Down the Law is just another example of how craft without heart is the perfect recipe for bad rock n roll.

Satriani: 6/10
Zappa: 5/10
Dylan: 6/10
Aretha: 2/10
Overall: 4/10



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