Elliot Easton

Change No Change

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Elliot Easton is a truly gifted and totally underrated guitarist. His talents were not utilized to the fullest in the Cars, nor should he be sprucing up covers of John Fogerty tunes in a clone band, Creedence Clearwater Revisited. With an opportunity to help his own cause, Change No Change disappoints on many levels. Easton is a terrible vocalist and listening to "I Want You" is downright painful for fans who saw and heard notes sparkle out of his axe prior to the Cars getting signed. This was Easton's opportunity to be recognized as a Phil Manzanera, Alvin Lee, or Craig Chaquico, but instead of using the "Tools of Your Labor," to quote the first song on his disc, and making a statement, he tries to be something he is not. Where Michael Bruce of Alice Cooper fell into the same trap, failing to entertain by coming up with something as genuine and innovative as the group that brought him fame, Easton at least presents elements of why his sound was such an important component of the Cars' success. Both "The Hard Way" and "Fight My Way to Love" have clever ideas and passages that cry out for someone to sing them and bring these songs to life. Why have Jules Shear merely provide backing vocals when you have the bassist from Ministry and the Cars' guitarist all in one talent pool? "Shayla," "Help Me," and "(She Made It) New for Me" are Nick Lowe/Ian Gomm-style pop songs with Easton doing his best imitation of Elvis Costello. Where Greg Hawkes put together a distinctive and classy solo outing with Niagra Falls, his former bandmate forces it on songs like "Wide Awake," sounding like Brian Wilson propped up in front of the mic when he should have been in a hospital. Rhino has released this with five additional tracks but, like Easton's guitar skills, this album needed a chance to shine. It's too bad Easton didn't bring in different singers and have some fun, for at least this record shows more creativity than playing "Proud Mary" in a cover band. It's better than the Spiders From Mars disc after they were ejected from the David Bowie experience, but for a man this talented, Change No Change is a big letdown.

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