Inxs Switch Epic
Produced By: Guy Chambers

Running Time: 44.09

Release Date: Out Now

Released: WORLD

Musical Style: Rock / Pop

Links: Inxs
Songs: 85%
Sound: 94%
Everyone should know how the band got to this place. It was certainly one of the more publicized selections of a new frontman in memory.
The 5 original members of Inxs chose new frontman Canadian singer JD Fortune on their reality TV series RockStar: Inxs.
As someone who watched the show from the outset, JD stood out as the candidate who wanted it most of all. He was the most driven of all the singers gathered and despite a rocky and 'unstable' beginning; he grew in promise and emerged as the person that would be a bold choice for the band.
I was always worried Inxs would choose a safer route, but the band clearly recognized that the rock edge and clear vulnerability of JD was the more interesting option.
After a failed start with Noiseworks vocalist Jon Stevens provided only one very average single, I was worried the songwriting prowess of the band might have seen better days.
Even the last couple of Michael Hutchence fronted albums were patchy. Could the guys come together and find new life?
It seems as if they have, with this album carrying certain energy and some solid songs.
Inxs are responsible for some very fine pop rock (or dance rock) tunes, but their early career was firmly planted in pub rock. With JD in the fold, I had high hopes that the band would return with more of a rock edge.
This is partially true I would have liked to have heard more of a harder edge, but as many bands with long and varied careers do, the guys hedge their bets somewhat with an album of tracks that draw influences from across their career.
What is surprising though is how much the band has evolved into something new and how modern this album sounds in places.
Switch is an apt title, as the band switches vocalists and approach, moving more into a U2 inspired modern rock style, while still drawing influences from their classic rock style and the more high-tech pop style that brought them their biggest international success.
This album mixes early influences from the likes of The Swing, through their breakthrough US hit album Kick and then on again in a more modern direction.
At times one can hear Hutchence channeling his distinctive vocal style through JD, but he is no clone. What elevates him beyond a mere copycat singer is his unquestionable passion and rock n roll attitude.
On a critical note, I would have liked the album to rock just a little harder and I would also have liked to seen more writing input from JD, as it's clear he has a lot to offer.
I hope the band don't see this as a one album/one tour deal as the next Inxs album should be even better with JD firmly entrenched as frontman.
Track By Track:
Devil's Party is typical Inxs. A little brass, a big groove and a smoldering moody vocal. JD proves to be the perfect fit within 30 seconds of the album opening. I like what he brings to this party and I'm even more pleased to see his name in the writing credits.
The chorus is subtle, as is most of the song, but it has a certain intensity, which is JD's trademark. At times he sounds uncannily like the late, great Michael Hutchence.
Everyone should know the lead single Pretty Vegas. I love this rocking tune. The lyrics were written by JD with two of the other contestants from RockStar, but the song is JD's. He owns this track and its story. Incredibly catchy, the song is one of my favourite tunes of 2005.
Afterglow is the first hint of something new for Inxs. This soft, modern rock ballad sounds like something from U2's The Joshua Tree, updated for 2005. JD proves to be a vocalist with versatility as he explores an intense, moody musical landscape which builds into an emotional climax. The track has every chance at being a hit should radio programmers (and fans) want to accept Inxs sounding this way. It's a gamble by the band and the similarities to U2 are plain to see, yet it is still a winner. Interestingly, the track is co-written by Andrew Farriss and Desmond Child.
The moody, modern and sometimes uptempo pop/rocker Hot Girls is co-written by Andrew Farriss, producer Guy Chambers (Robie Williams) and The Matrix (Avril Lavigne). Once again there is a definite intensity here and I was surprised to learn that JD had no hand in writing it, as it just seemed to be a song perfectly suited to his personality.
The song features some funny lyrics and is somewhat suggestive without being direct, which was a Hutchence/Inxs trademark.
Perfect Stranger is another strong Inxs classic, turning back to their 80s vibe, with the modern production of the new album. Hutchence again comes to mind with the vocals of JD and the uptempo chorus is another highlight of the album.
The album takes a left turn for Remember Who's Your Man. This is a different side of the band and of JD as a vocalist. Can't say I'm into this track which is an example of the band hedging their bets stylistically speaking. Suddenly I feel that I'm listing to a Richie Kotzen album! Mix in a little Lenny Kravitz and you get an interesting soul/pop song, but it is a little out of place with the rest of the material.
Next up is Hungry possibly my favourite track of the album. This is a super intense brooding modern rocker that builds to an explosive chorus. The song is drenched in keyboards and is another song that defines the new Inxs and given a chance, could be a radio hit.
Never Let You Go is another track that steps away from the general sound of the album, but fits for some reason. I don't love it, but I won't skip it either, just because the funky pop groove is interesting and JD gets another chance to do something different.
Like It or Not is a layered, effects filled uptempo pop rocker with a strong chorus and a good beat. A mix of the old and the new, there is something very familiar about the drum sound for old fans of the band.
Us is another slightly funky number with that Richie Kotzen comparisons again in place. A very pop verse leads to a strong uptempo chorus.
The album closes with the very interesting mellow modern rock track God's Top Ten. Alongside JD, the song features a female lead vocal from fellow RockStar contestant Suzie McNeil. She suits the song, which is a tribute to Michael Hutchence.
The Bottom Line
Above everything, this is a super-slick album. The production is lush and features a host of additional players on top of the already proven talent of the band themselves.
Thickly layered instrumentation and some authorative lead vocals support strong (if not varied) material, which together forms a very good album. This isn't going to appeal to everyone, as it is a little diverse and not entirely aimed at the band's original core audience.
It really could and should have rocked even more, but there is a lot to like about the album. A dozen listens in, I am convinced it is as good an album as we could expect and probably the best album since Kick.
They got the vocalist spot on and the material just about right.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Underneath The Colours
Shabooh Shoobah
The Swing
Listen Like Thieves
Welcome To Wherever You Are
Full Moon, Dirty Hearts
Elegantly Wasted

Line Up:
JD Fortune: Vocals
Tim Farriss: Guitar
Jon Farriss: Drums
Gary Gary Beers: Bass
Andrew Farriss: Keyboards and Guitars
Kirk Pengilly: Guitar and Saxophone

Essential For Fans Of:
RockStar: Inxs
If new to this artist - also check out:
Inxs - The Swing
Track Listing
Devil's Party *
Pretty Vegas *
Afterglow *
Hot Girls
Perfect Stranger *
Remember Who's Your Man
Hungry *
Never Let You Go
Like It or Not *
God's Top Ten
-- *Best Tracks

27/05/06: Dave M -
Rating: 85
Got this after hearing Afterglow on the radio and thought what the hell. Quite surprised as its pretty good (never been an Inxs fan or bought an album before) some of it I can take or leave but some of its cracking stuff.

02/04/06: Benjamin -
Rating: 86
From pm to Andrew:"after reading your review the day you posted I was determined that this would be procured at some point, though admittedly it took some time as i back burnered it. For 2 reasosns: 1, the depression over losing Stevens which I thought was a monumental setback. The guy was good and I really enjoyed I get Up. 2 was the show. Thought it was very hollywood, blah blah blah So that poisoned me against Fortune for a while. Was suprised to see you give it an 89 when it came out....

Listened twice, reread your review for more insight and what to look for and listened 4 more times. I can pick 4 tracks right out that stand up to anything they've recorded: DP (slow intense burner), PV (Holy SHIT!!!!ROCKS), Hot Girls (Amazing. Cool funk and grove, Crazy good chorus, an in-your-face subject matter), and Hungry. The first three, not coincidentally feature to my ears Timmy's most prominent guitars. Hungry, less so but he's there in a big way on the chorus parts. I'm sure you know That was a Stevens-sung song I was hoping they'd do w/ JD.

i don't like ballads, but I agree w/ you I do like Afterglow, it's very sweet. that may yet be a single due to the collabaration with Child.
I also dig Perfect Strangers and Like Or Not a lot. Us is good, not a fan of God's Top 10 due the slowness and female vocal (sue me, Fems) at the beginning. That's obviously a phrase Andrew Farris has wanted to use for a while, as the lyiric itself showed up on Here Comes II back early 80's (I'm 30). Not a huge Never Let You Go Fan, it's ok and I get a little kick out of Remember Who's Your Man. Hard to get a grip on it but something's catchy about it. Maybe b/c it's a Pengilly co write. Speaking of which, some real good classic Pengilly sax parts on the record but not enough of the great signature Pengilly bg vox. Some, but not enough.
All in all a good debut for JD whos a really cool signer in my book. Hope he sticks.
The Tim Farris guitar parts carry the day....Overall, an album that exceeded my expectations and hopefully is good starting ground for the JD era

01/03/06: Benno -
Rating: 75
The sheer curiousity of what the band is capable of sounding like after all these years is enough to get me to listen a bit more intently. By the way I didn't see Rockstar. Swing around for a second spin and the following is revealed:

Devil's Party - Its a nice new INXS, that punchy pop sound, uncanny Hutchence-like vibe to the opening lyric, wow!
Pretty Vegas - Ok track, obvious first single, not unpleasant but not great.
Afterglow - Definitely hearing a U2 vibe, walks the line between between fine and filler, this is the type of track should release if and when they make it big again, as it stands it sounds contrived.
Hot Girls - Man I dig this despite its throwaway lyrics, lots of guitars and again with this new punchy pop drive.
Perfect Strangers - Straight out of "The Strangest Party" (my favourite INXS track) book on how to pop INXS-style, solid track, good energy.
Remember, Who's Your Man - <shrug> I don't get it, borrows heavily from U2's "Sweetest Thing", wonder if they asked permission?
Hungry - brooding 80s electronic synth pop, I'm seeing seagulls...flocking...its the kind've dairy-whip-haircut music that shouldn't be brought back, barely a guitar to be found
Never Let You Go - 70s Bond flick theme music
Like It Or Not - Signature classic INXS track, nuff said
Us - Another signature classic INXS track, nuff said
God's Top Ten - Is this an ode to the late Mr Hutchence? Sounds like it. Fantastic melancholy melody, nice touch with the female vocals, but there's something about the lyric "God's Top Ten" itself that just sounds a bit radio promo; you know, "Rick Dee's weekly top forteeeeeeee". Anyway, stellar track regardless.

On the whole its an ok album, the fantastic production saves it from falling off the peg. There are nods of respect toward their past achievements that do sit nicely, and there are some good signs of a fresh energy and a future, but man did they hit the bog on a couple of those tracks. A bit too inconsistent for a comeback album for mine but its definitely kept me in the game for comeback album number 2.

08/02/06: Edu Nicolau -
Rating: 92
Excellent album, great songs (Hot girls, Pretty Vegas, Devil's Party, Afterglow), JD is the right man in the right place, he really sounds like Hutchence sometimes and this is good!! INXS did a great job, if you like them buy it!!
Hey Andrew, this albums deserves more than 89%, this one should be in the "red zone"!

31/12/05: mark -
Rating: 85
got this cd for chistmas and have listened to it about 5 times now and it is really growing on me! just a really good cd. best they have done since kick. recomend!

24/12/05: bobbyvanhalen -
Rating: 75
a good comeback album from the boys.Definitely worth checking out.Devils party,afterglow,hungry and the rocking pretty vegas are great tracks.Definitely worth buying

23/12/05: Crazy Steve -
Rating: 94
My wife and I were tragics when it came to Rockstar INXS, never missing an episode and while she loved Mig and I loved Susie McNeil I do think that JD was the best fit for the band. He is a very charismatic (if at times a little neurotic) frontman who has a good voice that at times sounds exactly like Michael Hutchence.

The album has some really great songs, with my personal favourite being God's Top Ten (Mainly because JD does a duet with the amazingly talented Susie McNeil).

Do yourself a favour and check this out!!!

08/12/05: Rocketdog -
Rating: 93
Ok, so I've been listening to the album a lot more, and I had to revise my intial score. I should have held off on my first take, cause this album's growing on me something fierce. Even some of the songs I wasn't crazy about on the first couple of listens, have started to grow on me. This really is a fine return effort, even if it took me more listens to realize it. Still not perfect, but deserveing of a better rating than I had previously given it.

05/12/05: Ty -
Rating: 92
This album holds up with classic INXS albums of the 80's. Hungry, Afterglow, and God's Top Ten are the highlight songs. The songs are very catchy, and the sound-vibe of the album is great. I didn't expect J.D. to sound this good in the studio. Hopefully they do another album in a few years.

04/12/05: Rocketdog -
Rating: 85
I've been a big INXS fan for many years, and own pretty much everything they've ever put out. I wasn't sure how this whole idea of finding a new singer with a reality show deal was going to work, I watched anyway. And even though the person who won, JD, wasn't my first pick for best singer - he did seem to fit best with the band overall. So, decideing to give the band the benefit of the doubt, I bought this album blind. I've only listened to it a couple of times, but overall, I find it decent. There's plenty of great material here, and JD does sound remarkably like Michael Hutchence in places. But while the music's good, and the perfomance tight - my only complaint is that I wished it sounded more like INXS. Sometimes it just doesn't, even though I still like the song(s). Like Andrew said, it could "be more rocking" in places. Otherwise, I'm good with this album, and would have no trouble reccomending it to others.

03/12/05: Steve -
Rating: 89
I bought this CD just because I wanted some new INXS. I was very unsure on just how this kid was going to front this band.
After listening to it in the car there stood a few songs that I could here the former singer sing. Or at least the songs were done classic INXS style. I am no fan of this JD Fortune but I must say that he sounds a lot like Michael H. and in some cases I had to back up the song just to hear a note a second time and was shocked on how close the two singers sound. There are 11 tracks on the disc, and seven of them are great. The CD is right up there with classic INXS. Well worth the money for the CD.
Michael would have been proud. The guys have definetly stayed true to the INXS sound and style. Go out and get it.

01/12/05: Dan -
Rating: 95
Best I've heard since X. JD does an excellent job capturing the INXS sound. This abum is in the vein of Shabooh Shoobah and Listen Like Theives era. Money well spent! And I can't say that for too many recent releases.

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