Album Review

Cheap Trick – In Another World: Album Review

The 20th album from the irrepressible Cheap Trick and they’re still all alright.

Release date: 9th April 2021

Label: BMG

Format: CD / DL / vinyl

Back in 2017 Cheap Trick assured us We’re All Alright. They even knocked out a Christmas album. Some water has passed under the bridge since then. For many the Cheap Trick affair might have begun at the back end of the Seventies, way back in the At Budokan days when my buddy had it on yellow vinyl. Thinking back, it was probably where my addiction started.

These days, Cheap Trick might be classed as a vintage. Possibly even a cool vintage. Definitely not tired has-beens whose glory days are long gone. Definitely not a nostalgia act although it is nice to hear Surrender, Clock Strikes Ten and the bubblegum pop of I Want You To Want Me. Ask the question: how can a band led by the irrepressible Rick Neilsen, all mic stands plastered with guitar picks and multi-necked guitars, ever lose its urgency? They attribute much of their recent creative drive to both Daxx Nielsen – the band’s touring drummer since 2010 – and Academy Award-nominated producer/songwriter Julian Raymond, the ‘fifth member’ of Cheap Trick and friend for more than three decades.

The first single, The Summer Looks Good On You with its effortlessly catchy “here comes the Summer” refrain, was with us almost three years ago. Yes, it kicks ass and is as good a pumping rock song as you’ll hear from Cheap Trick. Given they’ve had and taken some time to craft and mature a set of distinct and diverse songs, the common factor (despite Nielsen’s claim of “sounding fairly simple but they’re not“) is a clutch of masterful three and four-minute Pop/Rock songs. An album that, come the Summer, is going to be waking up my neighbours.

Almost inevitably, the songs reflect the times although the band point to the fact that there have always been crazy times. True enough, there you go. Meanwhile, So It Goes and I’ll See You Again provide pause points at which to take a breath, cloistered in a romantic sentiment, but prepare for heads-down rock and roll; some swing and swagger, some deliver a thunderous clout. Some cruise on a punky but polished drive. Another World (“these are the worst times we’ve ever had“) shifts from a sweet ballad to a breakneck reprised version. We hear Robin Zander channeling a throaty Roger Daltrey on Light Up The Fire and then draw a close with a timely nod to John Lennon, with a version of his still-relevant Gimme Some Truth. A track originally released for Record Store Day Black Friday 2019 features the instantly recognizable guitar sound of Sex Pistol Steve Jones.

My diary has just reminded me I should have seen CT in Manchester this week. Ultimately, In Another World reminds us that our brothers in Cheap Trick are still working that same gutsy rock and roll drive they had back in ’79. It might be forty years on (my old school song actually) but you can barely spot the joins. Just a few more wrinkles. Not exactly reinventing the wheel; like AC/DC’s Power Up, we know what we’re going to get with 2021 Cheap Trick. We’re still alright…

Cheap Trick online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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2 replies »

  1. Exactly this. Much better than the numbingly awful review by Rolling Stone – most of the songs are just power pop songs, and sound like Cheap Trick (surprise surprise), to paraphrase. – Nobody does this stuff as well as Cheap Trick, and if you love them, you love them because of exactly this!

    Just because styles move on, it doesn’t necessarily mean that what went before is neither good nor valid – it can be both; and in Cheap Trick’s case I believe they have produced an album that is both good and valid.

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