RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Stephen Pearcy – Smash
Frontiers Records

Rating: B

Ratt band members seem to keep themselves in the rock news at all times.  Whether they are reuniting, or their former drummer is using the band name and throwing hissy fits, hard rock fans somehow hear about Ratt.  This is one band that pushes the limits of the age-old adage “there is no such thing as bad publicity!”  Still, they do stay in the news, and we are still talking about them… so something must be going on with Ratt. 

The big news is that the remaining living Ratt band members are getting back together, minus their drummer.  In typical shake your head fashion, Ratt front man Stephen Pearcy has released, ahead of the reunion, hands down his best, and most Ratt-like solo album of his career, titled Smash.  This is so Ratt at times one wonders if he should not have held some of these tunes back for the reunion!

“Ten Miles Wide” is Out of the Cellar Ratt good with the ‘Round and Round’ tone and riffs...  So is “I Can’t Take It” employing damn-yankee-ish coming of age riffage.  Pearcy even -dare I say it- sounds good on vocals.  Oh his detractors will HATE that… but hell, he actually does. Well, not like Robert Plant or David Coverdale… but good enough, thanks to new age technical assistance… think better than 2017 David Lee Roth! Other times Stephen sounds like Alice Cooper as he does on “I Know I’m Crazy,” the strong opening number. “Want Too Much” has a good groove at times, but is predictable.  “Rain” has some great haunting keys, but the vocals just don’t seem to fit at times. The band does their best Led Zeppelin take on the guitar riff to “Shut Down Baby.”  If you gotta copy someone, may as well by Zep! 

Look… there are a ton of people who love to put this guy down.  Yes… he has aged a bit rough. Yes, I have seen him on an off-night vocally and it can be trying.  And yes… he has acted a fool many times.  He has recorded albums that he probably does not remember recording and later, when he hears what he did, probably wishes he had not recorded it.  This, however, is NOT one of those.

Smash is a damn fine slab of rock and roll from beginning to end.  The band celebrates all things 1970s and 1980s hard rock and the songs are strong as hell.  This one is one of those rare rock albums released in the new millennium that will beg the listener to return to it time and time again.

File this one under: Well, I’ll be damned... Pearcy made a f-ing damn fine rock record.

Let’s hope his creative juices keep flowing when he gets in the room with his old pals... because Warren DeMartini is still a monster on guitar!  In the meantime, get Smash and crank it up.  This is some gooooood stuff.

I Know I’m Crazy
Ten Miles Away
Shut Down Baby
Dead Roses
Hit Me With A Bullet
Want Too Much
What Do Ya Think
I Can’t Take It (Album Version)
Passion Infinity
Summers End

By Way Jeb Junior Wright