Epic / CBS
The career choices of Rockford, Illinois' most famous quartet are always perversely peculiar: after a strong return to straight power-pop for Standing on the Edge, Cheap Trick promoted Standing's engineer Tony Platt (AC/DC, Patto) to producer and inauspiciously squeezed out The Doctor. Overbearing keyboards trample through decent ideas ("Take Me to the Top," sole single "It's Only Love") and careen into bizarre throwaways ("Man-U-Lip-U-Lator," the Kiss referencing "Doctor"), resulting in the shrill nadir of bad 80's radio or lost Rundgren records. Hit producer Ritchie Zito harnessed Trick's combusting commercial soundscape for the follow-up smash, Lap of Luxury, but he also forced outside songwriters on the band. Thus, the glib but slight Doctor now stands as guitarist/guiding light Rick Nielsen's last gasp, a chipped nugget of Americana from pop's greatest disposable heroes who romance their brief reign in the review mirror.
-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC