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Cheap Trick “Rockford”

by Steven Shayman

Cheap Trick might be approaching geezerville after three decades in the game, but judging from shows this month in Japan, they still bring the cards to the table. Their latest release, “Rockford,” salutes the band’s Illinois hometown with snotty, driven style.

From the cracking opening “Welcome To The World,” it’s clear the band — Rick Nielsen (guitar, from one to five necks, as required), vocalist Robin Zander, Tom Petersson (12-string bass) and Bun E. Carlos (drums) — are out to have fun. The energetic rush of “Come On Come On Come On” recalls Cheap Trick’s own early history, while “O Claire” mines a Beatles-ELO vein. Producer Steve Albini (Pixies, Nirvana) helps out on the Queen-evoking “This Time You Got It,” the tongue-in-cheek “Give It Away,” and the metallic “Decaf.”

“Rockford” continues a back-to-basics trend that has seen Cheap Trick dig their way out of a 1980s doldrums to be embraced by alternative rock, making them deserving Rock and Roll Hall of Fame candidates.