JON STEVENS (Noiseworks / Dead Daisies) – Changing Times
“Changing Times” marked the return into the studio from unique singer JON STEVENS, a few years ago. It was originally featured on this blog when appeared, and as requested (Stevens is about to release anew album) re-vamped as not only it’s pretty hard to find ans expensive, but also a stupendous album.
In Australia, Jon Stevens is looked upon as one of our national treasures (even though he was initially ‘imported’ from New Zealand) with a remarkable career that spans over 30 years, during which time he has enjoyed many achievements.
That includes ARIA chart-topping success as frontman of legendary Australian bands Noiseworks, then INXS from 2000–2004 after the death of its lead singer Michael Hutchence, alongside John Farnham in the Australian cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar, and recently, as part of the awesome hard rock combo Dead Daisies.
While Jon Stevens always been around doing something it’s been a fair while since he has released a fully-fledged solo Rock album. His last efforts were the urban influenced ‘Ain’t No Life For The Faint Hearted’ and a stunning acoustic album of his back catalogue called ‘The Works’.
But his fans were asking for a more rocking album akin his Noisework days. Ant that’s what happened with this “Changing Times”, which sees Stevens back in the rock game with a fantastic backing band and major label support.
The album is a fabulous collection of well written, superbly sung tracks, such as soaring opener ‘One Mistake’ or ‘No Surrender’ and the semi-midtempo ‘Just A Man’, one of the best ballads Stevens has ever been involved with, both having some reminiscences of Noiseworks with nice melodies and vocal harmonies.
The grinding ‘Living The Life’ is a bluesy rocker that takes the leading sound in the style that Richie Sambora did in his 2nd album, and one of my favs.
The punchy ‘Stare’ is another real gem, as is the poignant ‘Closer To God’. ‘Acid Tongue’ and ‘These Are The Days’ both have a more modern approach but prescind from technology, just the typical guitar-bass-drums format, with Stevens in a mature rock mode.
“Changing Times” is a solid, straight rock album, melodic and easy to the ears, much in the vein, to say, of the last John Waite album. It successfully moulds the musical stylings of each different era of Jon Stevens’ career and also manages to add a layer of modern flair on top without it becoming too obtrusive.
Short songs, simple and classic rock arrangements and an organic sound, ‘real’ instruments is what you’ll find here.
The central scene on this recording is, obviously, Jon Stevens’ vocals. His inflections, his particular way to perform these simple rock tunes is what makes the difference with a standard singer.
Take a more deep listen than the casual on some of the harmonies featured here, and you’ll discover a vocalist with real personality and distinctive style.
Very good album.
01 – One Mistake
02 – Acid Tongue
03 – Living The Life
04 – Maybe Baby
05 – Just A Man
06 – These Are The Days
07 – Stare
08 – Kamikaze Pilot
09 – No Surrender
10 – Closer To God
11 – Changing Times
Jon Stevens: Vocals, Guitar
Session Musicians: not listed