"Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man (1946)Cut to 1965, and you'd have to add the eponymous debut album and several singles by Switzerland's The Sevens to the list.
Hands down the greatest rock band out of a historically neutral country. Ever.
Basically, these guys were the Rolling Stones of Switzerland; as you'll hear they might as easily be described as the Pretty Things/Animals/Kinks of Switzerland. In any case, they never had much impact outside of their home turf, where their peak years were 1965-66. I should confess at this point that I'd never encountered them until a few days ago, although I assume they're rather highly regarded in Garage Punk/Nuggets circles.
Here's their first single -- titled, with absolute pop perfection, "Seven," and a more eerily apocalyptic pop record had never been heard by sentient mammalian ears, I'll tell you that for free. Recorded essentially live -- the pistol shots were done in real time, although they never used the gimmick onstage -- and in just one take; if the freakout/raveup at the end doesn't get you going, you probably need to have it looked at.
Oh, and you'll never guess who the producer was.
Wait for it....
Giorgio Moroder. Yes, him.
Here's what they sounded like in stereo -- from the aforementioned album, it's the equally ominous "You Should Know." Which sounds to my ears like a mid-tempo ballad by The Zombies, albeit if that band consumed a case of Italian Swiss Colony before the recording session.
Obviously, the musicianship on both these tracks has a certain...primitive quality, I think is the phrase, but both of them also have a very palpable end-of-the-world vibe that I find remarkable. I should also add that lead singer Pierre Aebischer, who comes across as alternately creepy and amusingly suave, was either a genius or a madman, at least from the sound of this stuff.