Cheap Trick - ‘We’re All Alright’ (Big Machine Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Friday, 23 June 2017 04:30

Cheap Trick - WAA artworkIn some alternate universe, I am working as a radio programmer and on cloud nine as I hear the likes of the latest songs by the Glam Skanks, Heavy Tiger, the Biters, Low Cut Connie and Cheap Trick on my radio station. It amazes me that people believe there is no good music being made today - and then I remember that the avenues to be exposed to this music are extremely challenging. Cheap Trick have delivered another great album just a little over a year from their last one. They have proven that bands can continue to release high quality music after over 40 years in the business.

 

I was exposed to Cheap Trick when I was young through my brother who had the new ‘Dream Police’ album on vinyl. They fell off my radar though until ‘Lap of Luxury’ was released, and ‘The Flame’ was all over MTV and radio. While the song significantly raised their profile in the days of hair metal, the song was also a curse as they had a huge hit written by someone else, and it seemed their record label thought that was the future of the band. It definitely did not help that the next video was a cover of ‘Don’t Be Cruel.’

 

After the next album failed to achieve the sales of ‘Lap of Luxury,’ there were multiple record label changes with albums that were always hit and miss with me. I did take it upon myself to gather all those early albums when they were released on CD with extra tracks back in the day and really came to understand how special those early albums are. I saw them open for Meat Loaf when they were promoting ‘Woke Up With a Monster’ and thought how sad it was through their great performance that only ‘The Flame’ received more than an average response from the crowd. I cannot remember the last time I pulled the Steve Albini produced self-titled album off the shelf or ‘Rockford’ or any of them leading up to last year’s really good ‘Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello’ which has continued to cycle in and out of rotation. It made me nervous to see the band was already releasing a follow up album.

 

I am immediately relieved when ‘You Got It Going On’ explodes out of the gate highlighting each band member’s talents. Robin was blessed with an awesome voice that doesn’t show its age; his vocals still command attention. Rick Nielsen continues to be a monster on the guitar and is all over this first song. While I understand some fans being upset about Daxx Nielsen being the drummer now, he does an outstanding job on the whole album and has some cool fills right out of the gate. This song is snotty, catchy with more rock than power pop to my ears. The momentum for the album is established. ‘Long Time Coming’ completes a perfect one-two punch to open the album. It is less chaotic than the opener but extremely catchy without losing its power. The sound is unmistakably Cheap Trick. Can a band sell their souls to the devil more than once? Based on third song, ‘Nowhere,’ the answer is apparently yes as the song continues the rocking power pop assault with a classic rock guitar solo by Rick before some keyboards inject some additional chaos to the locomotive.

 

 

‘Radio Lover’ begins with some excellent guitar work before Robin lets loose some primal screams leading into another uptempo song featuring some deep tones from Robin in the verse. Tom Peterrson’s work on the bass really needs to be mentioned to as he is easy to take for granted. His work is excellent throughout the album, but the bass really helps drive this song. ‘Lolita’ introduces some different sounds to the mix as it settles into a midtempo groove with some cool melodies taking hold throughout the song. It provides a nice change of pace and leads into my favorite song on the album at the moment- ‘Brand New Name on an Old Tattoo.’ We are back with a rocking uptempo song that features a simple but very effective hook. For the basic version of the album, this would be the opener on side two. ‘Floating Down’ begins with acoustic guitar and some high pitch vocals by Robin leading me to think that we have hit the start of the ballads… After about a minute, the song seamlessly transitions into a midtempo rock song that has continued to grow on me with multiple listens. At almost four minutes, it is one of the epics on this album and would make for a nice single from the album.

 

‘She’s Alright’ is the weak song on the album to my ears. It reminds me of a poppy midtempo song from the 90’s. Luckily, they follow that up with the bass driven fast paced ‘Listen to Me’ which is another album highlight for me. The production by the band and Julian Raymond is well done with this song being another example of the dynamics they are able to create as the chorus elevates itself in volume above the other parts of the song. This song would feel right at home among the early albums and also reminds me of the snotty rock vibe at the beginning of the album. The proper album closes with ‘The Rest of My Life’ serving as another epic as it almost reaches the four-and-a-half minute mark. The sound is expansive on this power pop diamond which could serve as a great show closer before the inevitable encores.

 

I highly recommend spending a little extra to get the deluxe version of the album which includes a cover of ‘Blackberry Way’ by the Move. The band do an excellent job with it, and I find myself thinking twice that it also reminded me of something the Manics would do in terms of the sound and production of their current albums. ‘Like a Fly’ provides some distortion and serves up another cool rocker. ‘If You Still Want My Love’ works as an 80’s influenced rock song with some ballad tendencies without being a ballad.

 

If you like Cheap Trick or have ever liked Cheap Trick, I highly recommend this album. If you like rock music, I recommend this album. If you have ever liked a well-crafted song, I recommend this album. The band has delivered another great album which I am enjoying more than ‘Bang, Zoom…’ It is a rock album from front to back with no ballads, just a band showing everyone that rock n roll has no age limits. This album will likely be fighting to be in my top five or top ten this year.

 

www.facebook.com/cheaptrick/

 

‘We’re All Alright’ is available now wherever you buy your great rock albums.

 

 

Cheap Trick return to the UK next week to play the following dates:

 

 

 

Tuesday 27 June – London, O2 Kentish Town Forum

 

Wednesday 28 June – Manchester, Academy

 

Thursday 29 June – Bristol, 02 Academy

 

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