Two solo albums from Cars members are reissued

This week, the reissue label Wounded Bird Records has released two mid-'80's solo CDs from members of the Cars: Elliot Easton's Change No Change (1985) and Benjamin Orr's The Lace (1986).

Elliot Easton was the Cars guitarist, and was the catalyst for the current New Cars fronted by Todd Rundgren. His solo album is mostly un-Cars-like, except for one song called "I Want You". The rest of the album is guitar-based singer-songwriter rock. Easton partnered with Jules Shear for the songwriting duties on the ten proper album tracks. Change No Change gets good marks for effort, but Easton is no singer. His flat vocals are the album's downfall. The reissue features five bonus tracks which were recorded in 1993 by an Easton-led group called Band Of Angels.

Benjamin Orr was the bassist and sometime lead singer of the Cars. Orr died in 2000 from pancreatic cancer. The Lace is his only solo effort. If you remember the hit single "Stay The Night", you have a good idea of what to expect from the album as a whole. It's best described as Cars Lite, containing smooth, soft synth-pop without the tension or quirkiness that Ric Ocasek imparted on the Cars. The mellow songs were co-written by Orr and his then-girlfriend Diane Grey Page; Easton plays guitar on some tracks. The Lace is easy to swallow, and just as easy to forget.

Wounded Bird Records

Rarebird's Cars solo album reviews: