Released 1st April, a week before their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 8th, this long awaited album is Cheap Trick’s first since 2009s The Latest and their 17th studio album overall. The break seems to have done them the world of good. The band sound so alive & fresh, a completely different beast of an album. Do yourselves a favour and buy it and if you can catch them on the upcoming tour, which will hopefully include a Scottish date, make sure you grab a ticket.
1. Heart on the Line: Kicking in with some awesome ZZ Top style licks, the band set the bar with this rocker. Robin sounds like he is on fire and Rick is fueling it, his playing like this has been long missed; Tom cranking up the bass with Daxx pounding away. A fantastic track and so different to the opener from 2009’s The Latest, “Sleep Forever”.
2. No Direction Home: Daxx kicks it up on the intro to this all round rock track. Robin states there is “No Direction Home” for me but I reckon they have found it with this album, a stomping foot tapping head nodding sonic scorcher of rock.
3. Do You Believe Me: I do believe you Robin, I really do. Another scorcher with Rick in full flow – where has this Cheap Trick been?! I feel like I’m hearing the rebirth from easy rock back to their full on Rock n Roll days, actually hard to stop smiling.
4. Blood Red Lips: Takes me back to my early Quo/Sweet days now – that clap along, sing along 70’s groove. Another possible single that could spawn a huge hit.
5. Sing My Blues Away: Fantastic soaring intro to the first true Cheap Trick style ballad but updated with a touch more rock with Robin’s voice soaring way up there. The sound has a great feel to it, less electronic and a more natural rock feel with some great guitar touches from Rick.
6. Roll Me: A real punch of a track from the word go, with Daxx really going for it, Robin growling away, Rick and Tom nailing it with the rhythm. A stunning track and possibly my favourite off the album. It’s hard to type when your head is bobbing away!
7. The In Crowd: A cheeky wee cover here which most folk will recognise from Bryan Ferry even though he also covered it. The boys have covered it well in an abstract Ferry/Roxy Music style, interesting.
8. Long Time No See You: The first thing that springs to mind with this track is The Bulletboys. This song definitely has their “Smooth up in Ya” rock vibe, not a bad thing by any means.
9. The Sun Never Sets: Beatles meets Meatloaf. Fantastic vocals and musically it rocks along at a great pace. The production on this album is spot on – less on the electronic, more on the rock.
10. All Strung Out: What a way to end the album. My foot stomping as I write this! The guitar, the bass, Daxx just nailing it with the rhythm section… Well I ain’t Strung Out. If anything, I’m totally wired by this album.