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Various Artists
Changed: Tribute to Change of Heart

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Released: 6/23/2001

Breathless anticipation is probably overstating things a little bit but as soon as I received this CD I couldn’t wait to listen to it -after all, it had been a few years since the demise of one of my favourite bands, Toronto’s Change of Heart.

Reviewing a tribute CD is difficult at the best of times. The reviewer already has a set of ideals, likes and preferences built in - notions of what things should sound like. Plus, being a fan, who had never doubted the immense talents of the band, I also knew that if it is hard for the reviewer to review something objectively, it’s twice as hard for a band to cover original material. For a band, it’s a fine line to be walked. Do you stay true to the material or do you stray? Do you take a chance and interject something that you can call your own? Ahhhhh, decisions, decisions. Turns out all my worrying was for not because Changed: A Tribute to Change of Heart is one of the more memorable releases I have listened to over the last few months.

Changed features artists of varying styles and abilities. 15 different bands and artists appear on the disk, from Rebecca West, Don Kerr, Steaming Toolie, By Divine Right to Bags Eager and the Flaming Chihuahuas (which by-the-way includes James Law, who mastered the disk, plays bass, and is the owner of Ottawa’s successful studio, Wondermonkey). Every band delivers the same high energy, raw excitement that Change of Heart did when playing live, so that alone should qualify the CD for some kind of special recognition.

Changed begins promisingly with the Chiauahas great Directions For Going, continues with Rebecca West’s aggressively innovative Mystery and then blast you through 13 more solid tracks. Even if the sound of beer bottles, banjo and sonic feedback lying side-by-side is not yer cup ‘o tea, the net result is still the same – this CD bristles with a sense of urgency that is as far removed from the stagnating trendiness of teen / fashion pop as one would care to get.

Changed remains true to Change of Heart’s humble origins, and for that alone, everyone associated with this effort deserves full marks.

Gordon McDonald Email WWW


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