Golden Earring

Switch

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AllMusic Review by

After the success of Moontan, Golden Earring could have easily parlayed its success into international stardom by continuing to play up that album's commercial elements. Instead, the group did an about-face, pursuing uncommercial song themes and pushing the prog rock side of its sound to the fore (this move included the addition of Dutch prog rock keyboardist Robert Jan Stips, formerly of Supersister, to the lineup). The band even lampooned the sexy cover art of its recent hit album with a similar cover that replaced the gorgeous showgirl on Moontan with a marionette. The result is an album that lacks the consistent sound and coherence of Moontan, but makes up for it with an adventurous spirit and plenty of instrumental firepower. Highlights include "Love Is a Rodeo," a tune that starts as a thrilling guitar rocker before taking a sudden left turn into a finger-snapping instrumental coda dominated by synthesizer, and "Kill Me (Ce Soir)," a mystical epic that starts with a pulsating bassline and builds to a thunderous, orchestrated climax as its lyrics present a surprisingly incisive portrait of how society inevitably destroys its idols. A downside is that, by encompassing so many different styles, the songs lack the logical flow that would allow Switch to feel like a full, cohesive album. Another problem is that the lyrics have a bitter and defensive tinge (especially on "The Switch," a hard-edged explanation of the group's artistic rationale) that sometimes sits at odds with the exciting quality of the music. Despite these problems, Switch remains a solid album that Golden Earring's fan base will enjoy; the disc might also appeal to adventurous fans of prog and hard rock.

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