STEPHEN PEARCY
"Smash"

(Frontiers Music Srl/Top Fuel Records)

01. I Know I'm Crazy
02. Ten Miles Wide
03. Shut Down Baby
04. Dead Roses
05. Lollipop
06. Hit Me with a Bullet
07. Rain
08. Want Too Much
09. What Do Ya Think
10. Jamie
11. I Can't Take It (album version)
12. Passion Infinity
13. Summers End

RATING: 7.5/10

Eighties legend RATT's members have been embroiled internally in seemingly endless legal battles that would make the most seasoned entertainment lawyer's head spin. Currently it seems that the unit's lineup includes vocalist Stephen Pearcy, guitarist Warren DeMartini, bassist Juan Croucier, as well as former QUIET RIOT guitarist Carlos Cavazo, who played on the group's last release: 2010's "Infestation".

Meanwhile, Pearcy is carrying on with his 2017 solo release: "Smash". The album offers up different creative paths than what may be expected of him based on his classic work with RATT. There are flirtations with alternative music on the opening track, beginning with sedated seventies-tinged synthesizers setting the tone before Pearcy's one-of-a-kind voice jumps in front and center. His delivery here is much more vulnerable than he is typically known for. "What Do Ya Think" plays with pseudo country music sensibilities, especially during the chorus during which Pearcy's voice suitably takes on an almost Southern twang, not forced but certainly apropos for the song.

But the backing instrumentation delves into more familiar rock-based territory on tracks like "Jamie". "Ten Miles Wide" revels in contemporary rock, allowing Pearcy to display his trademark banshee-like wailing and his melodic yet gritty snarl to surface. And a groovy, blues slide guitar lick guides "Shut Down Baby". Pearcy casually rattles off his lines with a high pitch that serves to remind listeners that his voice has not suffered with the passage of time, if there was any question. The blues 'n' glam strut of "Lollipop" suggests the classic RATT track "Way Cool Jr" and caters to the energetic, punchy vocal stylings he is known for.

"Smash" should satisfy longtime fans and serve as a suitable pacifier until RATT's next effort. It's an album worth revisiting and a testament to Pearcy's talent, resilience and enduring career.

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