Welcome return

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 February, 2006, 12:00am

Boosted by a new lead singer, INXS has regrouped and returned to the music studio. The result is Switch - their first album since the tragic 1997 death of founding vocalist Michael Hutchence.

Leading the band is J.D. Fortune, who earned his place by winning the television contest Rock Star. Although Fortune - a former Elvis impersonator - lacks Hutchence's sultry vocals, he has settled in well with the group.

Fortune teamed up with keyboard player-guitarist Andrew Farriss to write hit single Pretty Vegas and opener Devil's Party. Never Let You Go is his collaboration with drummer Jon Farriss.

Switch is a smart combination of well-written modern rock and dance tunes. It strikes a good balance between quality trash rock (Pretty Vegas, Hot Girls) and songs that are introspective and mature, addressing issues of faith and dealing with loss (Us, Afterglow).

Old INXS fans will either love Fortune or be disappointed that he doesn't sound like a reincarnation of Hutchence.

But he has the charisma to attract young fans, while the rest of the band approaches middle age. Fortune might well be the necessary ingredient needed to prolong the band's success