Everybody knows Stephen Pearcy as the vocalist for Eighties hair metal band RATT, with many multi-platinum selling albums. Then there's things I never knew about the guy. One, Pearcy is big into top fuel dragsters and funny cars, sponsoring many and writing tunes for ESPN2's NHRA Drag Racing Series. He's also been an art director, television program creator, and a solo artist. Depending on what source you reference, Pearcy has had three to six studio albums since 2000, none of which I've heard. He arrives with his latest studio album, Smash, on Frontiers Music, the international classic rock label.
Now, my first impression of Smash was, like the RATT song, "Round and round, what comes around goes around." Or in the immortal words of New York Mets legend Yogi Berra, "It's deja vu all over again." We've been picked up by the Starship Enterprise and slingshot back to 1987. Yeah. Smash sounds so familiar, Pearcy sounds so familiar, with a voice that has not changed, but matured. His style is still melodic and smooth, yet with enough timbre of punk sneer and rock edge that made Sunset Strip sleaze so down and dirty. And like much of RATT music, Pearcy still works in a blues and boogie angle to his songs. Yup. Smash is classic hard rock, the throwback Thursday kind.
There's a lot of classy and crafty tunes here. Like Lollipop, a sleazy and groovy number that sounds like the bastard child of RATT and Aerosmith. Or then there's I Know I'm Crazy, where brisk riffs meet a hefty bass and rock groove, and Pearcy swaying between subtly and vigor in his vocals. Shut Down Baby seems to find Pearcy tapping into his hard rock influences, the riffs and latent blues reminded me of a Led Zeppelin song. Perhaps the real Eighties sleaze groove comes with Dead Roses. Starting with a mother f*cker shout out, the bottom end thunders with both groove and heaviness, and Pearcy delivers vocals with a threatening menace. Alternatively, Pearcy shifts more to an AOR accessible groove with Rain with its tasty melody and large refrain. And with the closing ballad, Summers End, Pearcy actually mellows, yet still remaining emotional and forceful in tone. All in all, Stephen Pearcy's Smash is spot on, dead bang, classic melodic hard rock in the best Eighties Sunset Strip tradition. Easily recommended.
All in all, Stephen Pearcy's Smash is spot on, dead bang, classic melodic hard rock in the best Eighties Sunset Strip tradition. Easily recommended.
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