A & M Records, 1992
REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/02/1997
I'm a rock critic, meaning I'm supposed to be a king asshole when it comes to reviewing groups and albums. I'm supposed to be (and often am) the kind of person that could find something wrong with heaven. (And I have the hate mail to prove it - should've known better than to slam Pearl Jam on HitsWorld.)
Leave it to the Scottish band Del Amitri to ruin my fun with Change Everything, an album that is one of the best mixtures of pop and rock I've ever heard.
The opening track, "Be My Downfall," seems to set the tone for the album. The acoustic guitar work of Iain Harvie is sparse, setting the mood for a moving vocal from lead singer/bassist Justin Currie. But, just when you think all the songs are going to be in this vein, del Amitri kicks into a rocker with "Just Like A Man" - and what is weird is that the transition seems to be flawless.
In fact, the many different tempo and mood shifts on Change Everything all seem to flow smoothly. Currie's songwriting on this one shows a man who has been hurt badly by someone he loved (loves?), and this is his release.
You need proof? Check out "As Soon As The Tide Comes In," undoubtedly the best track on the album. The track, sung by a jilted lover to his ex just before her marriage, is addictive and moving. (A desire to hear this track again led me to dig this one out of the legendary Pierce Memorial Archives - the problem being that my wife had filed it away for me. Memo to the cleaning staff: Mrs. Thelen is not to enter the Archives unless I am present, dammit!)
In fact, with the exception of a slightly weaker song, "Sometimes I Just Have To Say Your Name," to close the album, the second half of Change Everything is some of the most powerful music I've ever heard. From the opening notes of "The Ones That You Love Lead You Nowhere" to the instantly-recognizable beat of the first single, "Always The Last To Know," Currie and crew work the listener into an emotional frenzy that doesn't stop.
This is not to say the first side is weak in any way; some of the cuts on this part of the album are just as strong. "When You Were Young" reminds me of some other song I've heard in the recent past, but it does have the unique Del Amitri flavor. "Surface Of The Moon" takes a few listens to really get into, but is a solid track. One track I have not been able to get into no matter how many times I listen to it is "The First Rule Of Love" - don't ask me why.
Scottish bands have always seemed to have a hard time gaining acceptance in America (Nazareth, Big Country, Slade, etc.), but Del Amitri gained a solid foothold with the American crowd with Change Everything, and for good reason - it's a damn good album.