Review: Cheap Trick ­- 'Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello'

As much as the continued exclusion (until this year) of Deep Purple from The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame was mystifying, the fact that Cheap Trick were also passed over until this year is nothing short of criminal. Said Hall Of Fame is an American institution and, with the exception of their great friends in Aerosmith, no other band encapsulates the quintessential American Rock sound than Cheap Trick.Whilst Aerosmith’s recent studio album ‘Music From Another Dimension’ was patchy at best, ‘Bang Zoom Crazy…Hello’ is the sound of a band still at the top of their game, still invigorated, still fresh and most importantly still relevant. The classic mix of killer songs with amazing vocals alongside effortless guitar licks will never go out of fashion.

The album opens up with some feedback from guitarist extraordinaire Rick Nielsen before the vocals begin and suddenly the world seems a much happier place. I can’t think of a band as highly regarded by their peers as well as others that look up to them but yet surprisingly underrated as Cheap Trick. You just need to cast your mind back to the bands appearance at Download Festival in 2011 and recall all the subsequent social media posts from other performers to grasp how important these guys are. But this isn’t the sound of a band trading on past glories, just listen to Nielsen wail for a minute or so as the song reaches it’s climax…so cool.

‘No Direction’ is pure unadulterated Melodic Pop Rock at it’s best, has an almost slowed down Ramones feel to it then it changes pace for a lush vocal performance from the blonde bombshell himself Robin Zander. Tom Petersson on bass and Nielsen’s son Daxx on drums keeps it simple throughout the album, especially on current video ‘When I Wake Up Tomorrow’ which has a soft laidback vibe to it, almost Bowie­sque vocals from Zander.

‘Do You Believe Me’ has a crunchier grind about it, darker, heavier and Nielsen yet again totally nails his solos. Fuck, this guy is still so good and Zander unleashes a scream at the end that cements the old saying that age ain’t nothing but a number.’Blood Red Lips’ is a tip of the hat to Seventies Glam Rock and one of my favourites on the album, short sweet and straight to the point. ’Sing My Blues Away’ is a classic Cheap Trick ballad without actually being a ballad, a gentle piano intro that leads into a vocal performance from Zander that would get him the gig if Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne decide to reconvene a new version of The Travelling Wilburys.

‘Roll Me’ is punchy with Daxx keeping a great drum beat without over playing. Could imagine them recording this in the studio in one take as it sounds instant and live. Likewise ‘Long Time No See You’ is rockier with some sweet guitar work and has a nice swing to it. ’All Strung Out’ finishes the album off in fine foot stomping style and this is Daxx Nielsen’s finest moment on the album.

This is a strong album with very few instances where the quality dips, the cover of ‘The In Crowd’ being the one that springs to mind. A baffling cover especially when the quality of new material on show is so high that cover versions are totally unnecessary.

‘Bang Zoom Crazy…Hello’ is out now

Review by Dave Stott

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