With all the ridiculous nonsense of the last year surrounding Ratt and Bobby Blotzer using a lawyer’s decree while pretending there’s a single bit of legitimacy that fans will swallow to his tribute band, vocalist Stephen Pearcy got to work and recorded his next solo release. Being honest, Pearcy has been REALLY hit or miss outside of the confines of his rodent band. Arcade 1 was great. Arcade 2 wasn’t. Vertex wasn’t. His solo releases SOCIAL INTERCOURSE and UNDER MY SKIN were decent. FUELER was abysmal. It’s a mixed back with Pearcy, which sort of fits his personality, really. He’s back with SMASH, and he’s back on the upswing. While not brilliant by any means, SMASH is the strongest of his solo releases, and probably second only to Arcade 1 outside of Ratt.
Listening to SMASH, this is far more rock n’ roll and less “Ratt-like” than many of his other releases. While I don’t know this to be true, it just sounds like Pearcy might have been writing and recording music closer to what he likes than what he’s supposed to sound like on SMASH. Sure, songs like “Lollipop” will be compared endlessly to Ratt’s “Way Cool Jr.”, but that’s about the only time you hear that. Songs like “Ten Miles Wide” or “Jamie” have a lot more ‘70s flavor than anything Pearcy has done before. “I Can’t Take It” has been redone for 2017 (as the song was first released at least a year ago online), but it’s as catchy as ever. Throughout the entire disc, Pearcy sounds good, as does his band.
PITRIFF RATING - 80/100 - Unlike most people that were fans of Ratt, I’m not as enamored with the rebirth of the band. It’s cool and all, but I saw them at their peak. That’s good enough. I am a fan of Pearcy though, and having new music that doesn’t try to sound overly Ratt or overly anti-Ratt is good enough for me. SMASH is a solid effort from Pearcy.