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Time to re-examine the evidence
on March 27, 2006
The surprise success of "At Budokan" bumped this album, which was already complete, to the back burner while the hits ran their course. Likely because of a budding backlash from the post Budokan overexposure and increased expectations, "Dream Police" took an unjust drubbing at the time. But it was really the sound of the band evolving. The almost disco thump of "Gonna Raise Hell" and the nightmare vision of the title track proved Cheap Trick still had the brains, "Way Of The World" and "Need Your Love" provided the brawn.
It was just that the band had become so competent that some of the edgy charm had slipped away. "Voices" was the kind of ballad that Cheap Trick might not have been able to pull off prior to this, and there were a few who viewed this kind of open balladeering as selling out. They missed the point.
Cheap Trick was exploring their range on "Dream Police." Be that in Robin Zander's polished vocal on "Voices" or in that Tom Petersen took to the mike for the stunning "I Know What I Want," "Dream Police" became a showcase for the boys from Rockford IL. If you compare the Tricksters' sound here to new wave acts like Blondie and the Cars that were now in the same arena (Blondie's "Eat To The Beat" arrived roughly the same time as "Dream Police" and covers a lot of the same ground), you'll see how "Dream Police" remains an excellent album from a band in their prime.
For the bonus tracks, I actually like the live material, particularly Tom's live stand on "I Know What I Want." The "no strings" version of the title cut is a misnomer, essentially it's just a demo. Regardless, "Dream Police" is a great record, and I am glad to have the brighter and better remaster.