I’ve long neglected writing about one of my favorite bands of all-time. They were one of my earliest hard rock inspirations and their drummer Bun E. Carlos was the second drummer I ever imitated, right after Peter Criss and along with Ian Paice.
Cheap Trick is the second band I ever truly fell in love with. Unless of course you count The Beatles who I began bopping around to at age 2 or 3. Then along came KISS and next, Cheap Trick. Surprisingly, I’ve never written a review of any Cheap Trick disc.
It’s time to rectify that.
Cheap Trick’s new album is mighty tasty. Probably my favorite of 2017 so far.
Released June 16, 2017, it marks the shortest time between studio albums since 1985’s Standing on the Edge was followed by The Doctor a year later. Last year’s Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello, released April 1, 2016 was a critical success and seems to have re-energized the band and longtime fans like myself.
“We’re All Alright,” is a blast from start to finish. Rick Neilsen’s riffs are heavy, poppy, musical and rockin’ while Robin Zander’s vocals are mighty impressive as he sounds better than ever and puts on a master class in rock and roll singing. The Man of a Thousand Voices sounds like he’s discovered a few more ways to impress and inspire.
Most of the tunes on We’re All Alright! are pure rock ‘n’ roll joy and a few show that the guys in Cheap Trick, can still invent new ways to surprise. At this point in their long, stellar career they sound fresh and exciting again and have turned my attention back to them. I now want to hear the past two albums from them to hear how many ways they can surprise and delight me.
Opening track “You’ve Got It Going On,” is a great rock and roll tune that gets the juices flowing as soon as you hear the first notes. Track 2, “Long Time Coming,” borrows heavily from The Kinks “All Day and All of the Night,” but morphs quickly into pure Cheap Trick-ness.
“Nowhere,” sounds as if it belongs on a Sex Pistols album and is a driving, pulsing joy that evolves into another Cheap Trick classic. “Radio Lover,” is a vocal tour-de-force from Robin Zander while Rick Neilsen shreds a quick nasty solo and shows just how to tight and taut the boys are at this point in their career.
Things get super interesting and fun on “Lolita,” as the boys add layers of sound that are reminiscent of their glory days while adding touches that are quite at home in 2017. “Lolita,” is one of my favorite tracks on We’re All Alright! and is another rock ‘n’ roll joy-fest.
“Brand New Name on an Old Tattoo,” is the most straight-forward rocker on the disc, and just plain rocks. If you want to hear a master class on how to do a great classic rock song in 2017, “Brand New Name on an Old Tattoo,” is the template. Heavy, great lyrics, great beat, great bass lines, and rock and roll vocals with attitude that spits and snarls. Hell yeah!
Mr. Zander shines on “Floating Down,” a beautiful ballad that’s reminiscent of the great “Voices,” from their masterpiece album Dream Police and is just as beautiful and powerful. A moving vocal performance is the highlight of the song and as is the rest of We’re All Alright! some of the best work of Cheap Trick’s career.
“She’s Alright,” is killer cool make me wanna swing my hips down ‘n’ dirty Dire Straits inspired kinda rock ‘n’ roll that just makes me happy.
Attitude drips, pours, and drives from “Listen to Me,” and is the song most likely to make me get out some aggression. Another standout track.
The melodies, singing, music, and lyrics on the final track, “Rest of My Life,” are surprising and delightful and I believe that’s the best way to sum up Cheap Trick’s effort and execution on this disc. Delightfully surprisingly good rock ‘n’ roll from a band that is sorely under-rated, under-appreciated, and underground even after all these decades.
To say that I love this album may be an understatement.