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Steve Lukather Ever Changing Times Frontiers Records
FRCD363
· Produced By: Steve Lukather, Steve MacMillian, Randy Goodrem

· Running Time: 54.50

· Release Date: February 22

· Released:

· Musical Style: Melodic Rock

· Links: Frontiers Steve Lukather
95%
Songs: 94%
Sound: 97%
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?
The Bottom Line
I thought Falling In Between was a masterpiece and this also comes close, but for different reasons. It will have different appeal to that of the Toto record and it certainly won't be for everyone, but to these ears, it is the most straight ahead melodic rock record that Luke has delivered since the debut.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
· Lukather
· Candyman
· Luke
· Ever Changing Times

Line Up:
· Steve Lukather: Vocals, Guitars
· Lenny Castro: Percussion
· Abe Laboriel Jr.: Drums
· John Pierce, Lee Skylar: Bass
· Jeff Babko, Randy Goodrem: Synth, Keyboards

Essential For Fans Of:
· Lukather
· Toto
Track Listing
· Ever Changing Times *
· The Letting Go *
· New World *
· Tell Me What You Want From Me
· I Am *
· Jammin' With Jesus
· Stab in the Back
· Never Ending Night *
· Ice Bound
· How Many Zeros
· The Truth *

--*Best Tracks


23/02/10: Brad - bdame33@comcast.net
Rating: 94
I was saddened like many others when Steve Lukather announced the end of Toto. Like many others, I was overwhelmingly impressed with Toto's 2006 offering "Falling In Between". What a way that was to end, as things turned out. At the same time, Steve puts out an album here that clearly shows that he is more than Toto. Sure there are some beautiful Toto-sounding moments on here, but there is also so much more.

What a variety of sounds we get here. From mid-tempo anthems like the title track to beautiful ballads like "I Am" to all out jams like "Jammin' with Jesus", it all contains the usual flawless musicianship we expect from Steve (and Toto). The Steely Dan-sounding "Stab in the Back" and the melodic masterpiece "Never Ending Nights" are other highlights.

Truth be told, the album is all one big highlight for me. I have listened to this a ton, and for sure it takes away the disapointment that Toto is no more. Definitely a must-listen for fans of both Toto and Steve.

29/06/08: Alun Williams - alun_williams@comcast.net
Rating: 95
Steve Lukather – Ever Changing Time CD Review.

In the week leading up to my receipt of this album, Steve Lukather had announced the demise of Toto, after some 30+ years of operation. Therefore, could an album title be more apt?
Ever Changing Times is Luke’s 5th solo affair in 10 years among those years of involvement with Toto as well as an extremely impressive involvement in over 1000, yes you heard me right, One Thousand other side project releases / albums! Don’t believe it, go here: http://www.stevelukather.net/Discography.aspx
Steve Lukather has certainly mixed it up with the best of them over the years & not all rock releases & perhaps that is sadly why fans in the world of rock music, never really took Toto into their hearts in say the same way of similar bands such as, Journey, Foreigner, Styx, REO or many, many other acts that on the live circuit do so well. That said, perhaps Steve can at least cling to the simple fact that in the past, maybe Toto has sold more records than any of those bands … Although I don’t have any sales figures here in my hands …!
I do know that between Toto & his solo work he has over 30 million album sales. He also personally has 5 Grammy awards to his name. Nothing to baulk at there, at all there huh folks?
Something else to consider is people like Eric Clapton & Paul McCartney have asked him to write & play solo’s on their material, huge praise indeed.
As a live band Toto always found more success in Europe than in their homeland, USA … I know that has hurt these guys & that ultimately played a big part in Luke’s decision to call it quits on the band. I can’t blame him really, much as I like many will miss hearing a live Toto set.
Still, if you do like his work, he is just about to set out on a worldwide tour that will keep him busy for almost the next 2 years, that alone shows that there is certainly demand to hear this guy play / sing live.
Ever Changing Times, like any Toto or Luke solo release put simply has class written all over it.
The opening title track is a powerful, multilayered affair that really commands your attention from the start. Great structure, production, phenomenal playing throughout & it just begs to be heard. Great start to an album.
The Letting Go is next & is pure AOR in true Toto style. Luke voice is you could say purrfect! I kid you not! Another excellent & smooth song! It’s a track made for Toto & is reminiscent of Lea from Fahrenheit, brought right up to date & hints in the verses of Rosanna. Beautiful ballad!
Next up is New World which is the first of 2 co-writes for Luke with his son Trevor along with Randy Goodrum – Who co-writes all but 4 of the tracks here. - It’s an awesome track, killer guitar work alongside everything else, which I was going to say stands out along with the title track, as my favorite here, but you know, that’s just not fair to the rest of the album! The whole thing is such a class piece of work.
Tell Me What You Want From Me will totally throw you … as it’s a real soulful track one minute then breaks into crunching power chords, this is the 2nd co-written song with Steve’s son Trevor & also Phil Soussan (Jimmy Page, Ozzy, Billy Idol + more!) – Another guy making his name more so these days as a songwriter rather than a band member. - To quote Luke when I spoke with him recently on Trevors input to this track, “Trev said lets write something together & I told him, well show me what you’ve got & out came this Metallica type riff! Toto meets Metallica! What do you think?!”
It’s certainly a prime example of how Luke can reflect diversity in all he does.
Back into more familiar Toto type territory with I Am, great layers of sound in a laid back ballad.
Never would’ve expected next track Jammin’ With Jesus which starts with a gritty riff & Luke’s growling vocal, before bursting into Gospel, I kid you not! Again, this totally reflects the ability of this guy to mix up anything in all he does. Toto could always mix it up, but this isn’t like Toto! That said the song is written by John Sloman, not Luke!
Steely Dan anyone? Stab In The Back, Luke told me, when I commented on how like S/Dan this sounds, is his tribute to Donald Fagan.
Some awesome guitar work & again, superb musicianship throughout!
Never Ending Nights is next & this really gives a nod towards their big power ballad hit I’ll Be Over You, if a little more soulful & killer guitar solo but it is Luke, so of course we expect nothing less!
Next is Icebound which again reeks of Toto, with almost a nod again to Steely Dan, nice groove & awesome soloing / mid section, edgy in places. Great stuff!
How Many Zero’s again hints at Luke more jazzy / soul background & influences, strong lead vocal & big harmony vocals with soul / almost gospel like vibe.
Closer The Truth, is an instrumental – Surprisingly the only one on here. – which just lets Luke drift away on the guitar.
There is no doubt this piece of work is excellent & just reeks of talent throughout, but when this guy is asked to provide a service to so many big names out there, I guess it’s a 2 way street & this allows him to call about just about anyone he likes to come & play their part on his album.
I love this album, I really do & I guess it’s kind of a split in half album, with the rock area he knows with Toto & beyond in the first half & the second half, he’s back into the more soulful / jazz type direction again, similar to what Toto put out & then some.
I really wish him success with this & there’s no doubt that his peers will acknowledge this work, it’s just a shame more music fans tend to overlook his work.

06/06/08: Mark Ridout - mridout1@rogers.com
Rating: 97
Nice that Luke has finally got a new vocal record out. The CD itself sounds great and is quite diverse with some songs having TOTO influences. My favorites are the guitar heavy Ever Changing Times and the Steely Dan sounding Stab In The Back, which is ballad. Never Ending Night is an outstanding TOTO inspired sounding power ballad. A must buy for any Luke or TOTO fan. Hoping to catch his forthcoming solo tour if he makes it to Toronto, Canada

18/05/08: Glen - glen.mckee@gmail.com
Rating: 65
I've listened to this three times through so far, and I really have no desire to listen to it again. I'm a big fan of Luke and Toto, but this CD just drags and doesn't have any hooks to compel me to listen to it again. I'd much rather listen to "Luke."

13/05/08: Maya - mayerneygmail.com
Rating: 98
My favorite album in last month excellent.

04/04/08: Gary Knox - gary@garyknox.co.uk
Rating: 95
This album is clearly the best solo work that Mr Lukather has produced, from the opening track to the last there are no fillers.

As Andrew said in his review there are a variety of music styles on display and at no time do these detract from the ability that Steve has to make each track stand on its own.

In summary if you already like any of Steve's previous work then this is an essential purchase otherwise it would be a great place to start your discovery of the work that Steve Lukather can produce.

03/04/08: Dr Nick - ncsamaniego@blueyonder.co.uk
Rating: 70
Luke is one guitarist who polarises opinion. Is he a Rock Dino? Is he a jazz artist? Is he a pop session whore?

He puts out solo albums occasionally, which to be fair are quite varied in style (Candyman is pretty rocky, for example, Santamental…..isn’t).

This release has charted in Northern Europe, so at least he still has a decent following.
But is it Rock?

Ever Changing Times kicks off (we’ve all seen the video). Decent modern rock song, nice heavy chords, D tuning, big (ish) chorus, flashy solo…but not exactly earth shattering.
The Letting Go is a mellow acoustic-led ballad with an Africa-ish beat, soft chorus, reminds me of some things off “Tambu”.
New World starts with another modern sounding riff, but then goes a bit softer for the bridge, before hitting double time for an upbeat chorus. Not a bad song. Steve solos out, some good playing but not quite the big final lift the song needed to make the ending great.
Tell Me What You Want From Me is a bit schizophrenic. Starts of mellow and acoustic, cool bass playing (Lee Sklar), bridge builds, and then suddenly a seriously nasty modern riff hits you in the face for the chorus. Interesting, but the chorus melody itself is lacking, and not sure it works yet.
I Am is another soft ballad. 'nuff said.
Jammin' With Jesus is weird. Funky beat, D tuning, heavy guitars, sparse riffing, Hammond(ish) organ, more of a “feel” song. And big gospel choir in the chorus.Some good soloing during this one, and tasty wah use.
Stab In The Back is a very jazzy/pop number, electric piano and slightly overdriven guitar stabs. Occasional heavy moments leading into different sections, and a very Toto-ish chorus. Talk box solo.
Never Ending Night is yet another ballad, with a big Toto chorus and layered harmonies. Melodic solo, some good wang bar use.
Ice Bound is another more jazzy number, swing beat, heavier guitars interspaced with clean-ish chords. Less clear chorus here. Guitar and keys trade off in the instrumental break.
How Many Zeros is also quite jazzy, a slower number which tries to rock on occasions, and brings back the gospel choir for the chorus. Interesting solo, played from the head not the heart.
The Truth closes with an atmospheric instrumental tune. Sure to be a hit in elevators.

In summary, some interesting tunes, but too much of the softer stuff. The rockier moments are on the whole just that - moments. And Luke never really lets rip like a Rock God should. His solos are interesting (I keep using that word) but lack swagger and attitude. In fact the last time I can remember really thinking that Luke had done a proper Rock solo on record was “Caught in the Balance” off Mindfields.

So unfortunately it looks like Luke is growing old, and the Rock God in him is too.

If you like the softer and jazzier side, you'll love this. If it's out & out rock you want...get Isolation and Kingdom of Desire.


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