Out Jan 27

(Frontiers Records)

The voice behind Round And Round, Back For More and Lay It Down may still be fronting one version of a band rocked by legal wranglings but in the absence of a brand new Ratt record this is surely the next best thing.

Stephen Pearcy’s snarling rasp is as sleazy and definitive as ever – close your eyes and this could be 1984 all over again. The uplifting Ten Miles Wide wouldn’t sound out of place on the classic Out Of The Cellar while Shut Down Baby is the kinda track that could have made Love/Hate millions back in the day.

There’s nothing too serious or cerebral about Smash but that’s not the point where Pearcy is concerned. Renowned for his posturing, partying and preposterous dress sense, he was always the epitome of hair metal excess: the ludicrous Van Halen-esque Lollipop is a sickly-sweet case in point.

But there’s something refreshing, revitalising and self-righteous about an album that refuses to takes itself too seriously and yet still spanks the opposition into next year. This could have been a Ratt album – and a very good one at that. But in the current climate Pearcy has every right to slap his own name across the best of his brand new music.

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