Sonic Reducer

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Switches smacks you over the head with sexed-up glam rock right off the bat. Within the first three seconds of Lay Down the Law’s opening track, “Drama Queen,” you know exactly what this group of crotch-thrusting Brits is about. When Matty Bishop suggests he’s “coming down off something called love,” you have to laugh incredulously, but while its lyrical sentiments may be contrived, Switches’ hooks are organic and unforced. Slivers of succinctly executed rock-opera and towering melodies make the handful of regrettable tracks forgivable on an album with something worth saying, in spite of its words. (SM)

Black Francis SVN FNGRS (Cooking Vinyl)

It’s not that long—seven songs—but it’s a good 20 minutes. Restless, rowdy, sometimes bordering on manic, Frank Black finds himself sampling most of the genres he’s toyed with during his many years in music. Written, mixed and recorded in six days, the production is clear and the playing raw, almost something like a live album. Opening track "The Seus" is the standout, and though there isn’t any screaming on it, this song is reminiscent of those weird Pixies’ moments when Black totally lets go. And no, I don’t know what "Seus" is—but I’m OK with that. (MD)

Cut Copy In Ghost Colours (Modular Recordings)

Anyone with an affinity for a) dance music based in synth pop and subtle disco, b) sophisticated yet unfussy production, c) the distinct sense that you are dually existing in 1983 and 2008, or d) all of the above, will surely also have an affinity for the newest release from Aussie trio Cut Copy. Try "Far Away" on for size, and proceed to moonwalk around your living room (but avoid dud-tastic "Lights & Music"). (JCC)

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