Cheap Trick have just been deservedly confirmed for induction into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall Of Fame. This is their 17th album. They are one of Homer Simpson's favourite bands and have over four decades of playing together. Original drummer Bun E. Carlos only left recently and it is remarkable that the lineup has endured. They've kept their recruitment in-house too by getting guitarist Rick Nielsen's son, Daxx, in to replace Carlos.
Bang Zoom Crazy... Hello starts strongly with 'Heart On The Line' and 'No Direction Home'. 'Blood Red Lips' And 'Roll Me' sound like Slade which is quite fitting because Cheap Trick are like an American Slade. They sound good on the radio and you might go and see them if they're in town but you wouldn't consider buying their records.
The album suffers from a decidedly flat production. The big vocal hooks in the chorus fail to take flight. Rock has moved on and the standard has risen. This now sounds like the long awaited debut of a local pub band. The generic and unimaginative drumming doesn't help. A good drummer can raise an average song from the mire of banality but Daxx Nielsen plays with the creativity of the demo mode on a Fisher Price keyboard.
'The In Crowd', a cover of Dobie Gray via Bryan Ferry, stands out with a delay effect on the lead guitar being used to create the rhythm in the intro but such ingenuity is soon put to one side when the song hits its stride. The unadorned production aims to reproduce the classic rock template but the digital recording and Pro-Tools of a modern studio do not lend themselves easily to that format. The looseness and analogue warmth of '70s rock can't be rekindled digitally. The precision and quantising of the individual tracks rob the songs of their humanity and therefore their appeal.
The band's influence on '80s cock rock can be heard on 'Long Time No See', which could a Motley Crue or Guns N Roses cast-off. 'Sing My Blues Away' has melodies and harmonies ELO would be proud of. The tunes are decent and the unerringly mid-tempo grooves make for an easy and pleasant listen on a lazy afternoon but ultimately it's instantly forgettable and unexciting. Each song is forgotten before the next one begins. Perhaps like their first couple of albums, these songs will come to life properly in a live environment but I doubt this record will get many more spins in this household. Bang Zoom Crazy... Goodbye.
Bang Zoom Crazy... Hello is available via Amazon.