Switches - Heart Tuned To D.E.A.D.
It says a lot about Switches that the vast majority of the press clippings on their website are uber-positive reviews from NME. That's not necessarily a bad thing - everything serves a purpose, and all that - but it does peg them as the kind of band that your average discerning muso would rather piss on from a great height than listen to through choice. The Southend quartet formed in 2005, released debut EP ' Message from Yuz' in July of last year, were promptly picked up by Atlantic Records, and released their first single on the label last October. Their debut album's title may be a cagey reference to the Super Furry Animals track 'Bass Tuned to D.E.A.D.', but don't let that throw you; Switches have more in common with Animal the Muppet than they do with Gruff Rhys's lot. Heart Tuned to D.E.A.D. is as uninspiring an album as they come; it's indie-by-numbers that's as predictable as a Pat Kenny interview. That's not to say that Switches are lacking in potential; the Dandy Warhols laid-back stoner-rock of opener Drama Queen is quite enjoyable, as is radio-friendly single Lay Down the Law, a song that has the sort of sharp swagger and singalong chorus that you'd expect from Franz Ferdinand. Largely, though, singer Matt Bishop relies on his operatic falsetto far too much - and as a result, most of the album sounds like a beefier, rockier version of Mika. Snakes and Ladders follows the earnest dark fervency of insipid indie-rock trio Feeder, but the quartet's (admittedly spot-on) Queen-like harmonies turn what could potentially be a decent track into a cliched Darkness homage. The same goes for the jerky stomp-pop of Give Up the Ghost and the MOR splodge Step Kids In Love: both overblown pomp-rock tunes that do nothing for Switches' tenability. Heart Tuned to D.E.A.D. may well be a daytime radio DJ's weapon of choice in the coming months - but there's nothing new or exciting here that's of any consequence to people who genuinely love music. Tune me out.
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