Golden Earring

Red Bullet, 1975


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Golden Earring had always mixed hard rock and progressive rock prior to 1973’s breakthrough album Moontan, and while “Radar Love” remains the best-known songs from that disc (and the band’s entire career, actually), the bulk of the disc was equally as strong, albeit more prog-leaning. Perhaps refusing to be pigeonholed by that single, or because prog had always been in its DNA, Golden Earring leaned more toward the prog end of things for the follow-up albums Switch and To The Hilt, both released in 1975.

Put simply, Switch is appealing if you think the best song off Moontan was “Candy’s Going Bad” or “The Vanilla Queen” and not “Radar Love.” The sound is the same muscular hard rock as that album but with several prog flourishes throughout, such as the instrumental jam in the middle of the pulse-racing “Love Is A Rodeo,” the dramatic opener “Intro: Plus Minus Absurdio” and keyboards all over the place that weren’t as prevalent before. The eight songs clock in at 36 minutes (so they don’t ramble on too long) and on balance this is a solid follow-up to my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Moontan, even if it’s not as consistently great.

“Ce Soir,” which made it to the hits collection in 1989 (a great place to start when discovering these guys), is the standout track, a dark piece led by a bass riff and some strangled guitar in the background in the first minute, which slowly builds up in intensity as instruments get piled on (including strings) until the crescendo and fadeout. It’s quite a feat.

However, “The Switch” is meandering boogie rock that doesn’t say much until the closing guitar solo, “Tons Of Time” is awkward and unsure of what direction to go, and “Daddy’s Gonna Save My Soul” sort of plods along until a demonic sax solo taken from the Stooges’ Fun House closes out the piece. And while short instrumental breaks and solos can make a song better, they can’t save it if the core isn’t solid to begin with. “Troubles And Hassles” is at least energetic ‘70s rock, akin to what Grand Funk was doing at the time but noisier, and “Lonesome D.J.” is a sort of Southern-rock proto-Meatloaf piece that manages to be both hilarious and forgettable.

Golden Earring is one of those bands where a hits collection really does capture the best of the best, and other than Moontan and Cut their albums were hit-or-miss affairs. But there are some gems worth rediscovering beyond the better-known tracks, and Switch is as good a place to start as any, if for no other reason than George Kooyman’s guitar work and to prove that these guys were much more than two overplayed radio hits.

Rating: C

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