Before And Laughter
Ratt broke into the ’80s rock scene as a truly unique heavy-metal band. With unorthodox chord progressions, smoking-gun lyrics, and killer leads, Ratt set their own standard. It is difficult to now relegate them to such classifications as “hair band” or “glam rock.” Regardless, frontman Stephen Pearcy has recently released a collection of songs that recapture the Ratt sound, a style that stands alone, yet meshed with the genre of the time. The compilation is Before And Laughter. Retrieved from archives, the sound quality is poor on a few songs. However, Pearcy acknowledges this and suggests that the collection is for hardcore fans. Whether you are a hardcore fan or not, you will certainly enjoy the variety of music. If you are a hardcore fan, get this album and get back into the cellar.
Out of the chute, “All Shook Up” treats the listener to an upbeat rockin’ tune, reminiscent of “Chain Reaction” from Reach for the Sky, yet much better. Pearcy’s raspy vocals are prevalent throughout all the tracks. Each song includes a variety of musical talent, including the familiar accompaniment of DeMartini, Crosby, Croucier, and Blotzer. “Railbreak” is a perfect combination of hard-grinding power chords and Pearcy’s rhythmic lyrics. “U Got It” has the unique Ratt-n-Roll sound found on such albums as Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy. The “Round And Round” track sounds like it was recorded in a garage but is still fun. For example, if you listen closely, you may hear some goof-ups. Ironically, the song “Out of the Cellar” is easily the best one, yet has the poorest sound quality. Played live in 1978, it is a wonder that it was never remade on a later-released Ratt album, particularly Out of the Cellar. “Dizzy” is the most unique song on the album. A hardcore dedication of sorts, Pearcy really demonstrates his freaky vocal stylings. Another decent tune is “Dr. Rock,” which sounds more like Kiss than Ratt. The collection also includes a really cool jam session, “Dog Jam Song” featuring newcomer “Skunk,” apparently Pearcy’s dog.
Before And Laughter contains 19 songs. They are all good, with the exception of a couple of slow/ballad types that do not find favor in Pearcy’s abrasive sound. If you wanted more from Ratt after Invasion of Your Privacy, Dancing Undercover, or even Reach for the Sky, here it is. Thanks, Stephen Pearcy for opening the vault and keeping the good stuff alive.
Triple X Records, P.O. Box 862529, Los Angeles, CA 90086; http://www.triple-x.com