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Cheap Trick - The Latest

Cheap Trick

The Latest

(Cheap Trick Unlimited)

Is it 2009 or is it 1979? It could be either. In 1979 Cheap Trick ruled the airwaves with one of their finest albums, Dream Police (and its eponymous single), and tracks like the burning epic “Gonna Raise Hell” and the brilliant “Voices” pouring out of 8-track players in Camaros and custom vans. So what’s 2009 all about? Cheap Trick is still one of the greatest rock and roll bands in the world and has now issued The Latest which is probably their finest set since Dream Police. It’s even available on 8-track. I’m not kidding.

So, the 8-track thing is a sideshow but the rest is true about the irrepressible Rockford, Illinois quartet. The band’s ability to maintain their unique pop sturm und drang over four decades is the real story here. While they’ve never stopped making records and touring to an audience that is part dedicated diehards and the rest hungry for a little nostalgia, Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, Bun E. Carlos, and Robin Zander haven’t crafted a complete album of their Beatles and Move slapped arena-ready majesty like this in a long stretch. Who knew they were still capable of making a record every bit as good as the ones that used to spin with the orange Epic label at the middle? A roaring romp through Slade’s “When The Lights Are Out” proves that Cheap Trick has achieved an almost ageless quality. They took a ‘70s gem and infused it with Zander’s pomp, Neilsen’s guitar whizz, and the unmistakable rhythm section’s fusion of Petersson’s steady bass and Carlos’ signature backbeat. The result is they sound as vibrant, powerful, and awesome as they did in their prime. “Sick Man Of Europe”—an homage to an early name of the band—is a blistering blast of over-driven power pop. “Everyday You Make Me Crazy” soars quick and fast clocking in at just 1.17 but showing off Zander’s untarnished vocal prowess. “Miracle,” “Everybody Knows,” and “Closer” find the Trick delving into some big, Beatles-esque psychedelia. The Latest just might be the choice epic rocking soundtrack for what’s left of this summer. It is Summer 2009, right?

donny kutzbach

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