Lay Down the Law

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The Strokes and the Killers are the kind of bands that critics and fans know instantly; there is something unique and great about their music. It can rarely be described but it's a bit like the audible equivalent of pornography: you know it when you hear it. This is the case with British band Switches, who are immediately on with the brilliant kickstarter "Drama Queen." Sounding like some collage of Franz Ferdinand and the Darkness, the group then venture into more solid rock & roll with the terribly tight, guitar-heavy "Snakes & Ladders." The guitar work from singers and axe men Matt Bishop and Ollie Thomas is top-notch and packs a lot of bite. But perhaps the song of 2008 will be the dance-rock jewel "Lay Down the Law," that brings to mind a cousin of "Take Me Out." While it's a hard song to top, Switches don't embarrass themselves with yet another great track, "Coming Down," which has a certain influence from the Cars despite sounding very contemporary. Even "Give Up the Ghost" shines, although it is a slower, more deliberate affair with some moody arrangements, while "The Need to Be Needed" is a snarling, strut-filled, and cocksure rocker that works very well. Probably the second big highlight is the summer single "Every Second Counts," which finds the band not wasting a second of the song, resulting in another gem. The consistency of the album is its greatest trait, with another keeper coming in the form of the tight, infectious "Lovin' It." One of the better albums of 2008 without question.

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