What’s in a name these days? Not much but then is naming yourself after a country any more or less lazy than doing so after your favourite TV show or a book about the expansion of human consciousness? Once you get past that it’s the music that has to stand up and be counted.
Dublin’s Switzerland’s four members certainly have a lengthy musical apprenticeship between them, having variously been in at least five bands before this one, which affords the songs of Long Gone a satisfying level of professionalism. They’ve an Eighties element running through their work along the lines of Orange Juice and Lloyd Cole, which is periodically shot through with the sunshiny sounds of The Thrills.
The near two year gestation period for the songs that comprise Long Gone has also of course contributed to the overall lack of flab on their bones. Nothing on these tracks “about people (real and imaginary) who have made a change in their lives and faced the consequences” feels surplus to requirements.
Whether they’ll all have people jumping about the place, as singer Brian Walsh has indicated he’d like, is debateable – ‘Lay Me Down’, for example, is one to shuffle your feet to at best. Then again in a live setting they may all be as charged up as ‘Papaya’ or the almost-epic ‘Coming Back Strong’. Opener ‘Starting Out’ and closing track ‘You Know Me Better’ ably bracket an assured collection of songs that the quartet and label Popical Island can be rightly proud of.
Long Gone is a fine debut album from a band that come across through their works as a good bunch of lads, enjoying what they’re doing and with the considerable ability to continue to do it well. Fans of well-considered, played & produced jangly indie-pop should look towards Switzerland when contemplating their first purchase of 2017 in that vein.
The album release show takes place at Whelan’s in Dublin on January 27.
Long Gone is available via bandcamp.