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Golden Earring - Switch CD (album) cover


Golden Earring


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3.01 | 51 ratings

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3 stars To follow-up artistically and commercially successful "Moontan" was not an easy task, but GOLDEN EARRING managed to make an interesting but also an uneven album. The band seemed determined to not repeat the formula of the previous LP and even the catchy cover artwork seemingly shows a former showgirl beauty of "Moontan" stripped down to a skeletal marionette figure. Yet, the band line-up was enlarged to include a second guitarist and a keyboard player, so the sound is arguably richer and produced better then ever before. Compositions seem more streamlined and focused on making shorter radio-friendly songs, although lengthy prog passages are not entirely abandoned.

For my taste "Switch" contains three excellent tracks. Instrumental "Intro" provides nice atmosphere alternating between a slow tempo spacey part and a more hard rocking section that follows. There are subdued vocals repeating the Latin phrase "Plus Minus Absurdio" in a more instrumental effect. The title track invites us to a more familiar GE territory with its groovy sound based on irresistible twin guitars boogie rocking and fine Hay's singing. "Kill Me" almost anticipates a gloomy post-punk with its dark and foreboding rhythm. When I first heard the vocals I was reminded of Peter Murphy's baritone invoking Bela Lugosi several years ahead with his BAUHAUS. Also, guitar effects are wonderfully used. With its 6,5 minutes duration it is a song most resembling a sort of prog rock, along with the "Intro".

The rest of the album is not on par with these three gems. Slightly funky "Love Is a Rodeo" starts with a guitar chord or riff that would be later perfected on the future hit "Mad Love's Coming" off "Contraband" LP, but multi-vocal chorus is not very effective here. Another song that was perhaps composed to act as the album's hit single is reggae-tinged "Tons of Time" opening the B-side of the vinyl. It is a nice melodic track with good organ and synth backing, that would probably get more attention had it been released around 1979-80 during the post-punk ska revival and emergence of commercial "lover's rock" branch of Jamaican music. The rest of this album is occupied by unremarkable generic rock tracks, whose occasional good solo on saxophone (strangely, not by Barry Hay but by a guest musician), piano or guitar cannot redeem a true value.

What "Switch" seems to confirm is that GOLDEN EARRING had trouble with composing a quality album-length material, and that despite offering some brilliant moments (mostly to be found on the A side of the LP), many tracks sound as fillers. That said, this album is still a good one. There is nothing particularly wrong even with these lesser tracks. It is just that from the prog rock perspective (even if GE are not considered a "true" representative of the genre) there is much left to be desired.


Seyo | 3/5 |


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