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Today Is For The Changes

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 28, 2006 4:37PM

2006_09_thechanges.jpgThe Changes have been buzzed about, hyped up, and near omnipresent in the Chicago music scene over the past year. They’ve been touted as the next great hope to emerge from Chicago, much like The Redwalls or The M’s were in previous years. This is an interesting comparison since all of those bands had Chicago talent buyers or club owners handling their careers, and it wouldn’t be completely unfair to hint that much of the “breaks” these groups received were largely due to the good will engendered by their management.

In the case of The Redwalls, we griped that they didn’t deserve the breaks that were handed to them. In the case of the M’s, we cried when the populace at large ignored their smart and fuzzy rock. In the case of The Changes, they might just be able to capitalize on their connections and make the whole thing work.

Their debut album, Today Is Tonight, is packed with breezy pop and chiming melodies. There’s a definite new wave streak running through the tunes, but the result is an album that can fit in seamlessly almost anywhere within the historical musical narrative. It’s an album crafted with obvious care in an attempt to create a sonic document to not just justify, but outrun on the promise implied by the hype. It’s a valiant effort, an enjoyable listen, and a grand opening salvo in what we hope is a developing career.

Opener “When I Wake” kicks off with a jingle and a jangle and a jouncy bounce, before leading into the tenderly urgent “On A String.” The timbre is high and evokes the confusing impression that the music is popping and rocking from a car stereo on a spring afternoon while simultaneously evoking the image of a dorm stereo playing the song over a pristine campus freshly covered by layers of glaringly white snow. It’s this duality throughout the whole album that makes Today Is Tonight such a pleasing experience.

The album isn’t perfect. The disco-groove of “Twilight” ends up being more silly than danceable. And, at times, some songs hit moments that are so fragile that they threaten to float off in a wisp of smoke. This weakness is remedied by their live show, where brawn is introduced to brace the delicate structure of these moments.

Overall the album does a fine job of introducing The Changes as an outfit to keep one’s eye on. The album is available in stores now, and the band will be playing a CD release show at Double Door next month. So pick up the album, learn the tunes, and then show up ready to dance.