This Hidden Switch - A Way to Breath (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

This Hidden Switch

A Way to Breath (2010)


This nine-track EP (six new songs plus three demos featuring the original drummer) was almost a posthumous release, as This Hidden Switch called it a day just after the CD came out. Having been away from Wales for a few years, this is one of many bands I've missed out on, so coming in right at their end seems a bit frustrating, but it's not something that's going to get in my way of enjoying the band retrospectively.

What is clear from the first listen is that This Hidden Switch can write melodic punk songs that have the ability to be emotive without being classed as anything remotely "emo" as it is these days, and that the emotion clearly evident in Jon Greenwood's voice as he delivers the lyrics has an unbridled passion, adding to its depth and meaning.

Musically, the EP opens with crashing guitars and drums, sounding a bit like Sub Pop's finest band, Seaweed, and this theme continues throughout the other eight tracks. It's not a permanent sound, but it raises its head enough to keep that comparison in my mind as I listen to the songs.

There are other reference points--in terms of the sound--that crop up along the way, including Samiam, the Loved Ones, the Draft and Hot Water Music (the latter are obviously an influence on THS, but make them sound like a reproduction), which gives some idea of where they are coming from. The vocals are deep sounding, with an edge of gruffness that occasionally can be heard without sounding like a clutch of bands who favour that kind of vocal presentation.

What I like the most about all nine tracks (the three bonus demos sound much better than just demos to me) is that This Hidden Switch know how to construct a song that can build and soar high, taking you with it, before taking a more relaxed route and then returning to hit that high once again. There is melody, memorable verses and choruses throughout, thus producing a really strong piece of work rooted in melodic punk but with hints of an Americana/Southern feel to add something extra.

The guitar work throughout is direct, with little additions to provide the hooks on which some of the structures rest on. All in all, it's an EP which ticks all the boxes in terms of what gives me enjoyment from listening to music.

The physical release was limited to 100 copies, although if you're unable to get ahold of one then you can listen to the six new tracks on bandcamp.


And finally, it has been acknowledged by the band that the title of the EP is missing an "e", so it should be A Way to Breathe despite the actual sleeve showing the incorrect spelling--no one is perfect!