The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Cheap Trtick - The Latest


 No Cheap Tricks here – it’s all class


Much has been made over the years of Cheap Trick being a band of two halves – on the one hand, the “wacky” and non-rock looking guitarist Rick Neilsen and drummer Bun E Carlos, and on the other, singer Robin Zander and bassist Tom Petersson, but when it comes to making music, the band have always had a unique and singular purpose.


Their latest album – The Latest – is a slice of near-perfect pop-rock, dripping with melodies and interesting arrangements, catchy hooks and big fat riffs, yet at no time do this most underrated of bands resort to *ahem* cheap tricks in an attempt to write a hit.  This may, in fact, be their only weakness – they write some of the best and catchiest rock songs around, but they do so in a style so unique they will probably never be the A-list band they so deserve to be.


The Latest serves up the band’s trademark hard rock sound, laden with Beatles harmonies and a rare knack for melody.  A cover of the Slade classic When The Lights Are Out bops along complete with a guitar lick eerily reminiscent of their own Elo Kiddies, from 35 years ago.  Sick Man of Europe and California Girl show the band at their rockiest best.  These Days, Miracle, Smile and Everybody Knows are heartfelt and emotionally insightful.


Throughout, the band fire on all cylinders and show bands many years younger how it should be done.  Zander’s vocal range and power are astonishing for a man 30 years into his career; Neilsen is masterful; Carlos & Petersson rock solid and inventive.


I’ve long counted Cheap Trick as one of my favourite bands, but have always felt they are one step shy of creating a totally classic album.  This release may not boast a classic tune like Surrender, Dream Police or If You want my Love You Got It, but it is easily one of the better albums of their career - this is the sound of a band who know that they do what they do better than just about anyone, and who sound very happy with the niche they have created for themselves.