Hair Metal Mansion correspondent DAWN OSBOURNE checks in with the following:
The world keeps turning and Cheap Trick keep producing great commercial albums. Despite being inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame recently they still remain underrated, in general, in our humble opinion. This, their seventeenth studio album, is no exception. The band’s great skill is to produce original material that sounds like you’ve heard it a million times after a few listens, but it’s not plagiarism it’s just great skill. They are not called the American Beatles in Japan for nothing.
It’s Neilsen’s guitar that puts otherwise light in feel opener ‘Heart on the line’ firmly in rock territory from the start, but it’s not long before Zander’s vocals hit fever pitch and the track finishes with rock n roll rollicking licks. ‘No Direction Home’ has pop roots, but it’s Zander great vocal tone on the chorus that makes this a not to be missed track hooking us in and leaving you bitten, wanting more. Effortlessly the album makes it into ‘When I Wake up tomorrow’ a heartfelt love song, short but very sweet. ‘Do you believe me?’ sounds like a Beatles track in parts, but with far rockier guitar and tackles the thorny subject of knowledge of a friend’s unfaithful partner. ‘The Sun Never Sets’ sliding harmonies and ‘Blood Red Lips’ also reminds of Lennon & Co, but the lyrical content on ‘Blood Red Lips’ is more openly and directly sexual than anything the Liverpudlians would have tackled way back when. ‘Sing my blues away’ is more of an American influenced track and there’s more than a nod to Mr Springsteen running through this album also. ‘Cheap Trick’ the name of the band comes from one of the band remarking at a Slade concert that Slade used every cheap trick in the book in their live show and next track ‘Roll Me’ owes something to the style of Mr Holder & Co. and has the pace and tone going right back to British glam rock. ‘The In Crowd’ is a cover of the Billy Page song originally performed by Dobie Gray, it not being uncommon for the band to cover other songs occasionally, but this is much less schmaltzy than the original and totally rocked up by Nielsen’s contribution. ‘Long time no see ya’ is fashionably funked up. ‘All Strung out’ closes with English glam rock roots and elements of T Rex and Sweet woven in to the mix.
Like William Shakespeare Cheap Trick take everyday language and familiar stories, but present them in a new way that makes us feel like it's the first time. Always fresh and never disappointing.
Photos: Joe Schaeffer Photography
Courtesy of Hair Metal Mansion, www.hairbangersradio.ning.com