As far as I am aware, this is the first seasonal release from the veteran rock band. It’s a mix of well-worn Xmas favourites and less familiar material but all delivered with the group’s customary energetic, guitar-fueled elan. The artwork blends the outfit’s checkerboard graphic with Christmas corn.
Merry Christmas Darlings hits the pop vibe straight away, the drums pound away and the singalong chorus has the toes tapping. Sounds a bit heavy on the synths though. Easy on the sleighbells, lads! Compounding this, the ancient Roy Wood tune I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day..they probably don’t realise how utterly sick we Brits are of this ruddy song. There’s no attempt at a new arrangement, either. So far, so dodgy…
I Wish It Was Christmas Today brings back the bells but it’s a great rocker that reeks of Larry Williams – redemption is here! The vocal is strong and the backbeat irresistible, the guitars relentless. Merry Xmas Everybody has a stomping beat and almost makes the ubiquitous Slade song bearable. Without the shrieking the melody come through better. Please Come Home For Christmas trucks straight into a heavy blues tempo and a firm vocal. Those guitar fills are all feel and tone as Rick digs in, glorious if on the edge of histrionic here and there. Emphatic bass lines with a fat rolling tone. Oh yes!
Remember Christmas rides in on piano for an airy tune sung beautifully and a nice interlude as the song is not that familiar; Run Rudolph Run is a song that The Inmates used to put into Xmas setlists and the Trick play the back off the Chuck Berry seasonal gem, wailing harp and a biting Nielsen guitar break over the chugging backdrop. Brilliant stuff!! Father Christmas revels in YuleTide wonderment at the intro and then a Who style powerchord extravaganza kicks in – fabulous! Top notch vocal, too. THIS is how this group should sound and not a great distance from Alice Cooper..yep, it is that good and catchy too.
Silent Night looks a curious choice. It’s a bit like one of those Ramones abberations. Sung straight. Now this would have made a great guitar instrumental. Let’s move on, to Merry Christmas which rocks out in a Detroit mode, all punk attitude and busy guitar, a really great number that I shall playing a lot. Our Father Of Life is back to the corn, all synths and even the dreaded kids chorus..what a mixed bag this record is! The collection ends with Christmas Christmas which is a breakneck Runaways-style bratrock item, a full and exciting sound with powerful drums and an ascending progression that piles on the tension..
Let us not remember this wonderful pop-rock outfit this way…but half of this record will rock your boots off and fits well into the CT canon, the rest should be put in a cannon!
Cheap Trick’s new Christmas album ‘Christmas Christmas’ is out now on Big Machine.
For more information visit the band’s official website here: http://bit.ly/1UJHR65