Cheap Trick is back - and it's like they never left - with their prolific 20th studio album that would be more appropriately called "Fountain of Youth." So as we wind down the ski season and gear up for a post-covid jailbreak into a summer that's nearly guaranteed to be light years better than last year's cheapest of all tricks, "In Another World" is the fresh new album you'll want to add to the beach kit - and to next winter's mountain road-trip and ear-buds list. Although missing the legendarily quirky drummer Bun E. Carlos to a nasty lawsuit in 2013 (which left Carlos as a 1/4 owner of the band even though his stick licks are long gone), the original band mates Robin Zander, Rick Nielsen and Tom Petersson are joined on drums by Rick's son Daxx so the band's original DNA chemistry stays true and faithful here.
With Covid vax shots promising a quarantine-busting summer season, it's only appropriate that In Another World - which had a delayed release due to Covid - leads off with the agreeable ripper "The Summer Looks Good on You," featuring Cheap Trick's signature sound and a screamingly fun hook for putting the top down and heading to the beach to get on sand. The title track is a soulful rock ballad that hearkens back to their 1988 #1 hit "The Flame," and is matched later in the album with a reprise version that comes racing out of a garage jam session like a Ramones tribute driven by Daxx's freight-train drums and some youthfully over-the-top backing vocals that add to the fun of what is arguably the most infectious track on this album (though we realize "infectious" isn't the best word to use these days). "The Party" features the swing guitar of a Led Zeppelin classic and "So It Goes" evokes the plucking murmur of The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour album. "Boys & Girls & Rock N Roll" and "Light Up the Fire" pound with Zander's impossibly strong full-throated vocals that refuse to age, and "Passing Through"is particularly notable by bringing the soulful depth of those pipes to the forefront of the often-competing instruments, reminding us of the sound we first fell in love with on 1979's "I Want You to Want Me." The dreamy lullaby "I'll See You Again" would have been the perfect coda to this age-defying masterpiece from a band that knows how to make a comeback, but they fittingly chose to close with a sturdy and sincere cover of John Lennon's "Gimme Some Truth."
Whether you still have "Cheap Trick at Budokan" on LP or "Dream Police" on cassette tape, you'll want to add "In Another World" to that collection that gives the music of today a swift kick in the pants and shows us that old rockers can still rock. Click here to check out all the tracks.