Since the release of their last studio album The Latest, Illinois rockers Cheap Trick have been inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame, and have also lost their longstanding drummer, Bun E. Carlos. But amidst those ups and downs, with Rick Nielson’s son Daxx replacing Carlos on drums, the band have curated a new album, their 17th record to date, and first release in 7 years. If you are hoping for an insanely tantalizing, innovative new album, then Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello may not be the album you were hoping for. But, if you were hoping for 11 tracks of Cheap Trick doing what they’ve always done best, then rest assured they’ve left little room for disappointment.
Nearing 40 years in and still rife with 70s aggression, Nielson’s chugging arpeggios drive the psych-tinged No Direction, and Long Time No See plays out as a commendable attempt at a radio friendly foot-stomping, sing-along rock anthem. The only issues that flag up on these songs, and the rest of the album alike, is the bands faltered songwriting. Most lyrics seem half-hearted, lacking the visceral energy they once had. But for Cheap Trick, this is hardly a problem, as they have far surpassed the need to establish themselves as rock veterans. And even with what it might be lacking, Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello is still far from a weapon that could stab their well-earned reputation in the back.
The Sun Never Sets is a rock ballad, singing out “The sun never sets on a love that shines” and showing off their power-pop/rock side, one that the album is lacking elsewhere. Closer All Strung Out is one of few to share a similar theme; a buoyant “la-la-la-la” sits prettily underneath the crisp, punchy instrumentation. Blood Red Lips however, runs slightly over the border between energetic and cheesy, favoring the latter with distasteful claps and relatively mundane guitar strumming.
Despite everything though, Cheap Trick remain engaging on Bang, Zoom, Crazy… Hello. And taking the change in drummer into consideration, the band sound as tight and united as ever. Though it may not be a musical masterpiece that will sing its way into the future of music like their earlier records, they have created a commendable addition to an already glistening discography.