Review: Cheap Trick – ‘In Another World’

There seem to be two different opinions when it comes to “legacy” acts creating new music; one would be the approach of acts such as Kiss and Aerosmith where any ideas of new music are met by the attitude of “what’s the point since fans only want to hear the hits?”, and the other would be the approach that acts like Alice Cooper and Cheap Trick have. Both Cooper and Cheap Trick (and to an extent AC/DC) understand that artists need to keep challenging themselves by making new music for, first and foremost, their own enjoyment, and if their loyal fanbase happens to also enjoy the new music, then it’s a win-win situation. And if the new music is of such a high quality that instead of harming their legacy, it actually enhances it, then that is the money shot.

Cheap Trick have been on a purple patch of late, and ‘In Another World’ (their twentieth studio album) continues said purple patch that began with 2016’s ‘Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello’, and saw two albums released the following year; ‘We’re All Alright!’ and their first Christmas album ‘Christmas Christmas’. The Rockford, Illinois funsters still sound like they are having a complete blast recording together.

From the first notes of album opener ‘The Summer Looks Good on You’, right through until the final strains of closing track; a poignant cover of John Lennon’s ‘Gimme Some Truth’, the quality never dips. Everything that you would come to expect from a Cheap Trick album is all present and correct, and ramped up to the max; especially those lush vocals from the mercurial Robin Zander. On lighter-than-light moments such as The Beatles-esque ‘Quit Waking Me Up’, Zander’s vocals are huge, and if Jeff Lynne ever decides to reconvene the Traveling Wilburys then Zander must surely the first one on his list (if in doubt, listen to ‘I’ll See You Again’). Even during the lighter moments such as the aforementioned ‘Quit Waking Me Up’, the imaginative and fiery playing from guitarists-guitarist Rick Nielsen is never too far away. His playing is as vivacious as ever and at times he makes it look effortless.

‘Boys & Girls & Rock’n’Roll’ is such, simple good fun that it must have been impossible to wipe the smile from the faces of all involved once they heard it back for the first time. Great, great drum sound from Daxx Nielsen, and the partnership that he is forming with Tom Petersson (get well soon Tom) is quite a formidable one. ‘The Party’ is perhaps the heaviest moment on the album and is played at a punchy tempo, with another fantastic performance from Daxx Nielsen. The sleazy, grinding blues of ‘Final Days’ is one of the standout moments on the album, Rick Nielsen coaxes a gnarly, dirty sound out of his guitar, and combined with the glam touch to Zander’s vocals and the scorching harmonica courtesy of Jimmy Hall, it makes for a hell of a classic live track in the making. The last minute or so of the track is one almighty fiery jam where the players really do let it all out. How does Cheap Trick follow that up? With the airy George Harrison-like ‘So It Goes’ that’s how. Ending on a wonderful rendition of John Lennon’s ‘Gimme Some Truth’ (with a guest appearance from Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones), ‘In Another World’ is 45 minutes that fly by.

Playing 150 or so gigs a year keeps the Cheap Trick machine purring like a finely tuned Rolls Royce engine, and means that when they come off the road to record an album, they are already on the same page. Hopefully, these incredible songs get a chance to air in a live setting when touring resumes. Catch Cheap Trick on a short smash and grab throughout England in early February 2022.

Available now, more information, here. 

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