Two years on from his self- titled debut, Nielsen once again mines a rich seam of melodic power pop familiar to fans of his father Rick’s band Cheap Trick; but now with a permanent group in tow he’s painting on a broader musical canvas.
The catch-all umbrella might be Americana, taking in folk waltzes (Dear Kentucky), Springsteen anthemics (Cold War) and vaudevillian New Orleans jazz (All-Time Loser). The constant motif, however, is evocative character studies packed with incident and wit.
The femme fatale at the heart of Marie, the frustrated lovers of Disease and the acid put-downs of Overrated (arguably the closest here to Cheap Trick’s signature sound) come across like passages from Raymond Chandler or John Steinbeck set to instantly memorable and catchy tunes.
The addition of The Rusted Hearts, toughened up by regular touring, bring a further depth to Nielsen’s songs, with the promise of even greater things to come.