In Another World
3 1/2 out of 5 stars
There are few, if any, American rock bands in Cheap Trick’s league. The veteran Midwestern Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, now celebrating 47years together, sound as inspired on this 20th studio album as on 1977’s still fresh debut. “We’re too dumb to quit,” quips founding guitarist Rick Nielsen, an indication of the quartet’s sly, self-deprecating wit that remains one of their trademarks.
Listen no further than the opening “Here Comes the Summer” to realize that Cheap Trick’s crunchy power pop hooks remain firmly in place. The trippy vocal harmonies, Nielsen’s riff-happy licks and a chorus you’ll be singing after the first spin explode out of the speakers with the glammy giddiness of an outfit that revels in doing exactly what it’s doing. It’s impossible to tell that the original members are either pushing, or well into, their 70s.
Longtime producer/songwriter Julian Raymond, considered a fifth member, captures the foursome’s fiery edge as they charge through hard rockers like the sizzling chords igniting “Light up the Fire” and “Boys & Girls & Rock N’ Roll,” the latter an emblematic slice of sleazy hooks and crisp playing that has defined Trick. Guests like Wet Willie singer/harpist Jimmy Hall blowing tough on the cautionary swamp of “Final Days” and Sex Pistols’ guitarist Steve Jones assisting on a closing, timely cover of John Lennon’s “Gimme Some Truth,” add spice to the party. The title track appears twice, first as a ballad then as a pounding rocker. It reflects both sides of an act that remains committed to diverse musical styles within its rugged guitars/bass/drums (and occasional keyboards) approach. Singer Robin Zander is especially impressive on the gusty ballad “Passing Through” enhanced by psychedelic backing vocals.
In Another World displays the Tricksters cranking out another 45 minutes of crackling rock and roll that belies the members’ age, extensive backstory along with a work ethic doesn’t show any signs of slowing down now.
Cheap Trick is a group too smart to quit.