The front cover photo contained no band members, just a five-necked checkered guitar and a bass drum skin. The moment I picked up the CD I could feel that something was different. Inside was a bonus disc which I listened to first. It contained a killer hard rock number Baby Talk and a spot-on cover of The Move's Brontosaurus. My expectations were high at this point, but I was in no way prepared for what I encountered on the official release.
CT 97 is filled with some of the finest power pop ever made. There are a few angry rockers like the opening Anytime that transforms itself into a grunge screamer. Then there are some stunningly beautiful quieter numbers like the closing It All Comes Back to You. And the remainder - mostly written by the band - shows a maturity beyond what I ever expected from the Tricksters.
I keep coming back to this album again and again. Because of the consistent quality from start to finish I am reluctant to pick a favorite. But at the moment there is a one song that keeps cropping up in my subconscious due to its combination of aching lyrics and one of the finest chorus melodies in the annals of power pop.
Carnival Game begins with a man who is sure that the pain caused by his relationship is so great that he would be better of alone.
Some days are easier said than doneWhen the chorus arrives he momentarily relents and gives in to his need for a physical connection. But soon the pain returns and he gives up. That brief respite never returns.
Always expecting something's wrong
I'd rather live alone than drag this on
Take your time - please lay your hands on me
Don't wanna be alone, oh no
A mask behind a face then you're gone
Oh yeah - comes a time when you're better off alone
We once collided like a broken wheel
So undecided what was real
Maybe a crash somehow has sex appeal
Whatever turns you on
One down - one to go
Oh no, playin' in a carnival
Your time is gone