Switches were an archetypal indie-pop band, founded by a trio of friends, (later a four-piece) who met at university. Finding a limited amount of success (the band did have a song in the very average film Jumper) they disbanded after about four years together. Since they split-up three years ago, founding members Matt Bishop and Ollie Thomas went on to create Flash Fiktion, a band with few similarities other than Bishops vocals of course.
On the album opener, 'Me and Mr. E', which upon first listen you could be forgiven for thinking you'd put on a MGMT album instead, Bishop's vocals twist and turn in a style reminiscent to Brett Anderson. The guitar break that comes in further into the song also gives off a Suede/Brit-Pop like resonance, even if it does take a backseat to the capacity of the electronic back beat. On the next track, 'Capsule of the Sun' we are taken into a whole new territory, with a kind of freak-electro-indie sound that reminds more of Late of the Pier than MGMT.
This really sets the tone of the album; it's a real blend of genres and influences with no fixed style and an album where no song is really the same as the last, which can be a joy to some, but an annoyance to others. Fortunately for the band though, those that find this kind of thing annoying tend to be pretty uninteresting and monotone themselves, so I doubt the band are losing too much sleep over it. The list electronic influences ranges far and wide, MGMT and Late of the Pier have already been mentioned, but there are also elements of Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem on some of their tracks, 'Artificial Colours' - especially on the chorus - has a particularly Hot Chip-esque feel to it. The band themselves have also pointed out Bowie as an influence, the post Berlin-era Bowie is probably the most apparent influence when listening to the album. And then we get to 'Leni', which sounds like the sci-fi cousin of a Queens of the Stone Age (or maybe Eagles of Death Metal is more appropriate) song.
So with all these musical styles you'd expect the sound to be confused and the album to be an incoherent mess, but fortunately it really isn't. It sounds more like your typical experimental indie record in which a band are still trying to find their feet, even if this album was two years in the making the band have yet to find a style which suits them best. Bishop's vocals go well with just about every song on the album, but what is perhaps the most interesting part of the album is the work of Dan; the drummer. He infuses the album with a Latin/Caribbean sound that concentrates more on percussion than your standard drum-set. This is what gives the album its edge and why it sounds so different to your average electro-indie group.
The guys have come a long way since their days as Switches and on Flash Fiktion the trio have delivered an intriguing listen. The Latin-tinged drums are far from a few cowbells here and there in the songs, and the electronics aren't exactly inadvertent knocks on a keyboard. The album is a well thought out venture through a variety of styles with the hope of making something exceptional. While it may fall quite some way from exceptional it is still a fascinating and valiant attempt to make something new and out of the ordinary.
The album on a whole reminds me somewhat of the Mighty Boosh episode "The Priest and the Beast" in which Rudi van Disarzio and Spider Dijon are searching for the new sound. They have to realise that the new sound cannot be found in a particular place; the new sound is within them and finding it is a long-drawn out process. In other words, I have a soft spot for anything that reminds me of the Boosh and anything that is a little leftfield gets my encouragement. Lets hope they one day find their 'new sound' because Flash Fiktion could very well be something very interesting for the future.