|Steve Lukather Ever Changing Times||Frontiers Records|
Steve Lukather's solo career has almost been as varied as his work with Toto. If you exclude side projects and his Christmas instrumental release, this will be Luke's 4th proper solo record.|
All three previous albums have contained their own individual flair and fans of Luke will well know that his own music tastes and influences are wide ranging. Most of those influences have been featured within his records, from the blues to jazz, straight ahead pop and progressive rock.
Ever Changing Times is perhaps his most focused solo album since the debut Lukather record of 1989. In terms of both style and substance, this record has terrific consistency and features a highly enjoyable set of songs that for the most part are very consistent in approach. Those that deviate with their own personality simply add texture to the overall record.
On Ever Changing Times Lukather follows the path set by Toto's Falling In Between record – a heavier guitar sound and some progressive arrangements, but a solid chorus at the heart of each track.
And again like Falling In Between, some old friends are at the ready to lend a hand and give the album a huge, familiar sound - songwriting partner Randy Goodrum is there (Synth, exec Producer), as is Steve MacMillan (production), Lee Skylar & John Pierce (bass) and Lenny Castro (percussion).
The album has a distinct Toto feel, yet the Lukather solo diversity.
This album really is a superb collection of songs that allows Luke to further showcase his incredible talent in a more diverse setting than a Toto record would allow.
Ever Changing Times is a dark, heavy and mid-tempo track with an imposing feel to it. Love the chorus and the guitar work within the song.
Switching tact immediately is the haunting slow ballad The Letting Go, which could have come from Falling In Between or any other Luke solo record. These are the types of ballads he could do in his sleep, yet with so much class at the same time.
That said it is one of his best ballads of this nature that I can remember.
I love New World. This track has a more progressive feel to it and some great alternate guitar parts. Then the chorus comes from nowhere in this big rush of energy and a flurry of guitars as the tempo lifts dramatically.
Tell Me What You Want From Me is another softer track, relying on some Westcoast melodies to carry the verse before another surprise chorus launches itself, featuring some aggressive riffing and a powerful vocal.
I Am is another great sentimental Westcoast/pop ballad that Luke does so well. Another strong chorus.
Jammin' With Jesus is one of those 'left-turn' tracks that is typical Lukather, yet out there at the same time. This is a mood track. Some days I skip the song altogether, other days I crank it even louder and simply bask in the heavy groove and underlying rhythm and blues of the chorus. An amazing bit of music either way.
Stab in the Back is another dip into the 70s rock past that Luke originated from. This is a breezy Steely Dan style Westcoast pop track with a definite groove.
Never Ending Night is a big Toto friendly power ballad that again could have come from the last Toto record or even Seventh One perhaps. Another highlight for me.
Ice Bound is a diverse little progressive flavored track. A simmering Totoesque verse runs through a bridge then chorus that sound fresh, yet familiar, with the guitars riffs varying throughout. How Many Zeros is perhaps the one track I'm not completely sold on in someway or another. Mid-tempo, but lacking a better chorus I feel.
The Truth is a beautiful and almost theatrical instrumental track. When is someone going to hire this guy to do film scores?
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