Cheap Trick – We’re All Alright! (Album Review)

Forty-four years after its inception, and Cheap Trick is still up and rockin’! In fact, the enduring American band had just released an album last year, the hard-hitting Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello. Now, only barely a year has passed and the quartet of Robin Zander (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Rick Nielsen (lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Tom Petersson (bass, backing vocals), and Daxx Nielsen (drums) are at it again. Not wasting time, they unleashed yet another batch of Glam-flavored, Hard Rock stompers.

Formed in 1973, in Rockford, Illinois, United States, Cheap Trick is one of the still standing pioneers of that kind of music that may be described as the Hard Rock between Heavy Metal and Power Pop – tight and technical yet still loose and laidback, apt for stadium concerts that become steeped with crowd-chanting when the melodies get infectious and the atmosphere hot and sweaty. In its more than four decades’ career, Cheap Trick has released eighteen studio albums – from 1977’s self-titled to the latest, We’re All Alright!

Released on June 16, 2017, via Big Machine, Cheap Trick’s eighteenth begins without any acrobatic ado with the metallic rocker “You Got It Going On,” proving that the band is well-oiled; after all, it has been prolific in making music, releasing an average of three albums per decade since the late ’70s. The party mood then flows flawlessly into the rhythm of the next track, “Long Time Coming,” exuding a sharp sonic sheen similar to the likes of The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night,” Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ “I Hate Myself for Loving You,” Van Halen’s “Runnin’ with the Devil,” and AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell.” The four-on-the-floor drum pattern and punchy excursion continue on with the punky “Nowhere” and “Radio Lover,” the vocal delivery of which might conjure in the initiated the sexy smirks and whiplash smiles of the Punk idol Billy, enough to cause him to dance in a corner even only with himself.

Undulating next is the flowing yet angular, synth-adorned, and melodically memorable “Lolita,” which may be regarded as one of the album’s highlights. “Brand New Name on an Old Tattoo,” on the other hand, is a homage to the Glam Metal of the excitingly glamorous and androgynous ’80s era, harking to the same carefree, youthful, and wild adventures of the likes of Mötley Crüe (“Girls, Girls, Girls”), Def Leppard (“Rock of Ages”), Poison (“Unskinny Bop”), and Warrant (“Cherry Pie”). Then, in a customary Pop Metal fashion, Cheap Trick turns the psychedelic lights a bit dimmer and the lyrics dramatic and romantic as the Power ballad “Floating Down” enters, ready to swoon old-time fans who once fell in love with the band’s beloved, bittersweet classic “I Want You to Want Me.”

The slow pace continues with the simple and catchy Pop Rock of “She’s Alright,” only to pick up tempo and court again the listener’s adrenaline rush with the ensuing “Listen to Me.” Finally, Cheap Trick closes its new offering with the feel-good, easy-listening, and sing-along tune “The Rest of My Life.”

We’re All Alright! is definitely another bag of ol’ fun and sonic tricks by the veteran band. Cheap Trick may be already forty-four, but, as the album title says, they are all alright – still capable of coming up with engaging party rockers and anthemic stompers that can still shake up any big hall or concert stadium. Same old cheap tricks? Of course, not! Make it…seasoned and familiar yet youthful and timeless audio-magical tricks. CrypticRock gives We’re All Alright! 4 out of 5 stars.

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