Sweden's Switch Opens are apparently creating quite a bit of a stir in their native country with their brand of stoner/psychedelic rock music. Though many of their fellow Swedish bands (as well as a few others on the Transbutans Record label) have gone the route of recreating a retro 70's hard rock/metal sound, Switch Opens have stuck to the sludgy, bottom heavy vibe of the grunge scene as well as the stoner & doom stylings of acts such as Crowbar, Orange Goblin, and early Mastodon. Toss in some psychedelia and a touch of prog, and you have their latest Joint Clash.
The first thing you notice here is how prominent in the mix the bass is, so much so that tracks such as "Mirror Man" and "Square" feel more bass driven than anything else, with guitars forming the textures through which the fat bass riffs blast out of. "Pompous Pumping Heart" again sees huge, distorted bass riffs chugging alongside the sludge ridden guitar chords, as ragged vocals and pounding drums take Joint Clash right into Crowbar territory. "Chemistry" is much more upbeat, while "Freak Sect" sees stoner riffs collide with dark psychedelia and bleak post rock, again the bass guitar really standing out front and center. Odd vocal chanting drifts about droning & distorted bass and guitar riffs on "Like Fire", while the dreamy near 10-minute "The Reunion" takes the band into space rock territory, featuring synthesizer blips, rumbling bass, ethereal vocals, and effects laden guitar meanderings. The closing title track features lilting guitar textures and breezy vocals, for a little bit of post-rock meets Pocupine Tree.
Overall, Joint Clash has some adventurous moments, and you can certainly say it has enough of a 'different' vibe to recommend. I'm not sold on some of the vocals, which tend to be rather whiny during the clean sections, and some of the extended musical passages in spots just seem to meander aimlessly, but there's certainly enough to like here if you are in the mood for something that has both the 'light' and 'shade' throughout.
1. Square (7:16)
2. Mirror Man (8:14)
3. Pompous Pumping Heart (7:55)
4. Chemistry (5:45)
5. Freak Sect (4:39)
6. Like Fire (4:14)
7. The Reunion (9:14)
8. Joint Clash (3:32)