Bun E. Carlos, Cheap Trick’s drummer extraordinaire, has taken a hiatus from that iconic Rockford, Illinois band to embark on a new project, the Candy Golde five song EP, which delivers with a current sensibility and a nod to the sum total of the band members’ musical track record.
Candy Golde includes the aforementioned Carlos, Nick Tremulis, John Stirratt (Wilco, Autumn Defense) and Rick Rizzo (Eleventh Dream Day).These Chicago veterans of the “music wars” have collaborated in a unique way. Each member has brought a piece of his musical pedigree to this eclectic sounding ensemble. Part ‘90s Alternative, ‘60s dance party and Grunge fest, this effort has relevance and originality.
The EP which was mastered by Ivan Julian of Richard Hell and the Voidoids, starts off with “The Hold Steady,” a dance oriented tune with a great keyboard sound, crunchy rhythm and a catchy chorus. It should be the most danceable rocker on the planet. Rizzo’s dissonant guitar solo has “bite” and is perfectly suited for this track. Tremulis’ earthy lead vocals are out front and grab you immediately. Tremulis, whose resume reads like a Who’s Who of rock and roll has worked with Keith Richard, Billy Corgan, Mavis Staples, Ronnie Spector, Los Lobos , Steve Earle and Ian Hunter to name a few. His vocals fit the atmosphere of the four originals and one cover on this EP. Carlos’ workman-like drum work is steady and efficient throughout. Aside from his almost forty years with Cheap Trick, Carlos was most recently part of Tinted Windows.
Stirratt’s pulsating bass playing, which was an integral part of the success and sound of Wilco, is a major reason why this EP rocks and rolls in every sense of the word. Rizzo, co- lead singer of the band sings admirably and breaks new ground with sonically original guitar solos that bring to mind Neil Young along with him adding his own 21st century twist.
Paul Simon’s “Boy in The Bubble” is given a new face with Carlos’ unique drum patterns and Tremulis’ echoed vocals. The guitar sound on this track is other-worldly and adds a grungy feel to the unique treatment of a Simon classic.
“Galvanize Me” just rocks, pure and simple. It has a steady backbeat accompanied by a hypnotic keyboard refrain and frantic playing by Rizzo whose unique signature sound on this song is hypnotic. The track’s hook stays in your head for hours. Listen to the last few seconds of it and you will be taken on a sonic excursion like no other.
“Troubles Coming Down” is power pop meets country personified. Bombastic power chords, a wonderful bridge, tasty guitar solo and percussive brilliance make this a winner.
Last but certainly not least, “Why & Where” tells the story of Charlie (“feeling restless”) and Nancy (“feeling hopeless”) in a song that is a mini-movie which builds lyrically and musically to a satisfying crescendo and Coda.
The cover art by modern artist Wesley Kimler (a friend of Tremulis, Stirratt and Rizzo) captures the essence of the aesthetic feel of this new offering as well.
Classic rock fans were all wondering what Mr. Carlos was doing in his spare time since he hasn’t toured with his Cheap Trick band mates recently. This EP is fastly different from the sound of his former group in terms of vocals (Robin Zander’s melodic tone vs.Tremulis’ rough around the edges voice), sound and guitar work (Rick Nielsen’s guitar acrobatics vs. Rizzo’s Alt-Grunge ax work). However, those differences make it a must –listen for fans of Carlos and the other talented musicians who have created this burst of energy in the rock and roll void of 2011.