Review: The Changes – Today Is Tonight

When I first saw that a band had named themselves as The Changes, my immediate impression was that here was a group who chose their name as a desperate attempt to make people think they are different from anyone else. In fact this Chicago act really are different from most other bands and although they do have influences they’re not from the usual fashionable sources.

The Changes Album Cover

‘On A String’ employs the same clear, almost effeminate harmonies that China Crisis fans used to get beaten up for listening to, ‘Sisters’ takes that comparison still further but features a retro-styled drum loop and more clever hooks in one song than you’d be lucky to find in some artists’ complete albums. Meanwhile, ‘Twilight’ marries soul to Haircut One Hundred’s white funk and ‘House Of Style’ manages to repeat its simple refrain (“You don’t care. You’ll Tell anyone. It’s not fair. You don’t care etc”) countless times but is still as addictive as hell. At this stage it appears that The Changes make the kind of skinny white boy pop that was around in the 1980s but here they’ve allied it to the soft rock arrangements of fellow Chicago outfit The Sea And Cake.

Furthermore, towards the end of the record, they show admirable versatility. The vocals reach a rockier, gritty level for ‘Such A Scene’ and ‘Her, You And I’, the latter of which reminds me of The La’s and even survives a three-minute instrumental section without straying into self-indulgent territory. Then a couple of lovely romantic numbers (‘In The Dark’, ‘When I Sleep’) complete this almost flawless indie-pop album. All in all, The Changes are well worthy of their chosen name.

Web Sites:
The Changes’ Official Site
The Changes’ MySpace

Further Listening:
China Crisis, The Sea And Cake

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