Picks and Pans Review: Change No Change

updated 04/08/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/08/1985 AT 01:00 AM EST

Elliot Easton

When the Cars' front man, Ric Ocasek, stepped out for a solo album, Beatitude, in 1982, it was with the nervous, spidery gait that Cars listeners had come to know. Easton, the guitarist for the popular Boston group, remains a more uncertain quantity, even after this first solo album. It is clear that Easton, who like Jimi Hendrix is a southpaw, is one terrific guitarist. That much was already apparent to anyone who has followed the Cars or heard Easton on Peter Wolf's Lights Out LP. Not much else is settled by Change No Change. Easton shows a familiarity with a variety of styles, but doesn't get cozy with any. Shayla and (She Made It) New For Me, for instance, are visits to unremarkable '70s pop, resembling tunes by the Hollies and others. Easton and collaborator Jules Shear haven't unearthed any memorable melodic hooks anywhere. Easton isn't much of a vocalist either. He does decorate nearly all of these otherwise undistinguished songs with guitar fireworks. There is a kamikaze solo on (Wearing Down) Like a Wheel, layered textures of acoustic, electric and slide guitars on The Hard Way and a ringing opening to Help Me, which recalls the Beatles' Day Tripper. Change No Change may be valuable for serious students of guitar. Casual listeners won't find much to hum along with. (Elektra)

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