Switch

Switch

by INXS
     
 

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There are a couple of ways to approach Switch -- either as the latest disc to emerge from the reality show universe or as a new chapter in the tale of a band that bowed out sooner than they needed to. On either front, the album -- the first full-fledged INXS release since the 1997 suicide of frontman Michael Hutchence -- works pretty well. Yes, it's got its

Overview

There are a couple of ways to approach Switch -- either as the latest disc to emerge from the reality show universe or as a new chapter in the tale of a band that bowed out sooner than they needed to. On either front, the album -- the first full-fledged INXS release since the 1997 suicide of frontman Michael Hutchence -- works pretty well. Yes, it's got its fair share of cheesy moments (new frontman J. D. Fortune was, after all, an Elvis impersonator in his past life), but there's something uncannily sincere about the way he and his new bandmates chug through both mid-tempo rockers like "Pretty Vegas" and lighter-igniting power ballads like "Afterglow," probably the closest song, in spirit, if not sound, to the band's halcyon days. Occasionally, the original members do try a bit too hard to replicate those bygone moments -- "Devil's Party," for instance, resurrects the melody line of "Original Sin" -- but for the most part, they manage to update the vibe successfully. Andrew Farriss, who was responsible for writing the music for most of the band's best-known material, reprises that role here, turning out tunes that alternately swing (the bass-driven "Like It or Not," for example) and tease, such as "Never Let You Go," which cross-breeds reggae and cerebral new wave to good effect. There's no attempt to disguise the made-for-TV origins of Switch -- Rock Star runners-up Suzie McNeil and Deanna Johnston crop up on "God's Top Ten" -- but judging by the evidence in the grooves, INXS have more to offer than just reruns.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
For all intents and purposes, the death of Australian rock band INXS' lead singer Michael Hutchence in 1997 ended the band's career. Despite being a phenomenal live band with influences that combined funk, new wave, and melodic rock, Hutchence was always the focal point of the band and without his rock star charisma and, more importantly, his warm, soulful vocals, there really wasn't much point for the band to continue. They did make attempts though, with both Terence Trent D'Arby and Jon Stephens fronting the band in the late '90s and early 2000s, respectively. But nothing worked until the band hooked up with reality TV impresario Mark Burnett for the extended audition show Rockstar:INXS, which found unknown vocalists from around the world competing to become the new lead singer of INXS -- enter J.D. Fortune. A former Elvis impersonator from Canada, Fortune introduced himself to INXS by bellowing through "American Woman." INXS chalked the awkward performance up to opening night jitters and Fortune rallied on, ultimately even beating out the odds-on favorite Aussie Mig Ayesa. All of which brings us to Switch, INXS' first post-Hutchence album, and the first with Fortune. Truthfully, if you accept that Hutchence was the best thing about INXS than nothing the band does now could be better than even the worst album the band made with him. That said, for all of Rockstar:INXS's sickeningly glitzy cheesiness, it had both a sense of humor and fun about itself. Which seemed to indicate that INXS also had the same self-awareness that they were a great back catalog in need of live frontman. In that spirit, Switch finds the band working with such hit-making songwriters as the Matrix and Desmond Child in an attempt to reference sounds from every era of the band's career. Even Fortune, who impressed the band during the TV show with his lyrics for lead-off single "Pretty Vegas" gets some more writing credit with the album opener "Devil's Party," an obvious nod to "Devil Inside" one of the band's most recognizable hits from 1987's Kick. Similarly, the epic ballad "Afterglow" references U2's "With or Without You" while the driving "Hungry" could easily be a B-side from 1984's synth pop heavy The Swing. Vocally, Fortune does match some of Hutchence's deep soul leanings, and although he's more leaden and doesn't have any of the higher-end, blue-eyed soul that was Hutchence's trademark, he is clearly up for the sex-god-rock star pose. The album tends to "switch" back and forth from heartfelt love songs to songs about the decadent rock lifestyle, even making room for some ersatz reggae along the way. Fans of the Rockstar:INXS TV show will be pleasantly surprised to find female contestants Suzie McNeil and Deanna Johnston making appearances with McNeil, and even getting a duo lead with Fortune on "God's Top Ten." It's nice to see INXS acknowledge the show which ultimately redefined the band apart from Hutchence.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/29/2005
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0827969772720
catalogNumber:
97727

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

INXS   Primary Artist
Gary Beers   Group Member
Guy Chambers   Guitar,Keyboards
Andrew Farriss   Group Member
Jon Farriss   Group Member
Tim Farriss   Group Member
Dan Higgins   Flute,Tenor Saxophone,Baritone
Paul Mirkovich   Piano,Background Vocals
Kirk Pengilly   Group Member
Wayne Bergeron   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Lisbeth Scott   Background Vocals
Anne Lewis   Background Vocals
Andrew Martin   Trombone
Paul Stanborough   Guitar
J.D. Fortune   Group Member
Deanna Johnston   Background Vocals
Suzie McNeil   Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Desmond Child   Composer
Gregg Alexander   Composer
Gary Beers   Composer
Guy Chambers   Composer,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements,Audio Production
Andrew Farriss   Composer,Horn Arrangements
Jon Farriss   Composer
Shelly Peiken   Composer
Kirk Pengilly   Composer,Horn Arrangements
Annie Roboff   Composer
Tony Bruno   Composer
Brandy Flower   Art Direction
Richard Flack   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Paul Stanborough   Engineer
Jordis Unga   Composer
Marty Casey   Composer
J.D. Fortune   Composer
Michael Murchison   Management
Martha Troup   Management

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