"Lay Down The Law"

(Interscope Records 2008)Switches - Lay Down The Law

You have to give the lads of Switches credit. From the very first track of their US debut full-length, "Lay Down The Law," the band face the Queen references head on. "But it remains to be seen if you've got what it takes to be queen," the band sings in a multipart harmony. Sure, they are referring to the song's title, "Drama Queen," but the energetic and catchy chorus poses an interesting question worth pondering.

Elsewhere on "Lay Down The Law," Switches keep their dancing shoes on. The album's title track is upbeat rock whose stamping rhythm spins like a top while "Stepkids In Love" pounds steadily, falsetto vocals careening behind the deep melody. The gentleness of "The Need To Be Needed" comes across as a slightly updated (and much less upbeat) version of Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want" as "Killer Karma" sounds like a glossier version of Bowie.

Do Switches have what it takes to be Queen? No, of course they do not. But in their defense, while the sounds of Queen are notable in their music, there is far more to Switches than that. While "Lay Down The Law" offers a full introduction to the band, the album is, essentially, a few strong tracks that are surrounded with decent but not stellar filler. Switches go far enough with "Lay Down The Law" to grab the attention but that is where they abruptly stop.


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