Though they’re finally — finally — getting their due with their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cheap Trick could still be called the Rodney Dangerfields of Rock ‘n’ Roll. After all, respect has been a long time in coming for a band that’s been making records for more than four decades, played more than 5,000 concerts and singlehandedly nudged power pop into the new millennium. Certainly there’s no band more influential in those realms, and the Tricksters steadfast devotion to the cause has helped carry the banner initially hoisted by the Beatles, the Who, the Move and other purveyors of form. About damn time for some well-deserved recognition, we’d say.
Consequently, Bang, Zoom, Crazy…Hello, the band’s first studio set in nearly seven years, doesn’t tamper with the template, a situation that would no one predicting otherwise. The album title is indicative of the band’s penchant for raucous mayhem, and in that regard, the band doesn’t disappoint. However where they once mixed things up with Beatlesque flourishes ala “Dream Police,” now they’re simply sticking to the basics, grinding out rugged, relentless rockers with little regard for subtlety or nuance. Songs such as “No Direction Home,” “Long Time No See Ya,” “Roll Me” and “Do You Believe Me?” verge on wailing metal mayhem, with “Blood Red Lips” and a surprise cover of that old ‘60s chestnut being the most melodic examples of their full frontal thrust. It’s nice to find that they haven’t mellowed, but somehow a greater variation of the formula might defer any accusations that at this point they’re merely going through the motions.
Still, let’s not be disparaging, especially now. Let’s just say instead that Cheap Trick is simply doing what they’ve always done best, that is, to rock with a vengeance. And who knows, songs like the aforementioned “Blood Red Lips” or the tenacious track that follows, “Sing My Blues Away,” could end up as standards in their set list. They certainly do have that classic Cheap Trick feel. Consequently, there’s no need to knock them when they’ve finally ascended the summit. As their legions of fans will attest any Trick is a treat.