Ratt vocalist and esteemed solo artist Stephen Pearcy’s work is something to be admired, and he proves just that with his fourth solo release Smash. Smash consists of 13 tracks, a fairly diverse album as Pearcy displays his musical prowess through creating songs that exemplify different styles, yet come together to create one unique listen.
Opening the album is “I Know I’m Crazy” which begins rather abruptly following what seems to be an short organ introduction. It’s unique synth sound sets it apart from other songs on the record and is a prime example of Pearcy’s musical experimentation and diversity. Smash, overall, is a step away from the Ratt sound for sure, however there are a handful of tracks on the album that sound more 80’s inspired than others. Songs like “Jamie”, “Dead Roses” and “Hit Me With A Bullet” are not only more Ratt-esque, but are also some of my favorites on the record. Another stand out track is “Rain”. Could it be that I’m a sucker for a chanting chorus? Absolutely. But, the incorporation of piano alongside pounding drums, Pearcy’s powerful voice and catchy guitar riffs is mainly what sells this ballad. While listening to the album, you’ll hear some bluesy vibes as well as some country vibes, especially on the track “What Do Ya Think” which has country twang laced throughout it.
As mentioned above, Stephen Pearcy provides some powerful vocals which show how well his voice has held up. There are few moments on the album that show a wide vocal range, but what he does show is very solid. Pearcy is in good company, having Erik Ferentinos (lead guitar, rhythm guitar), Chris Hager (guitar), Greg D’Angelo (drums) and Matt Thorne (bass, keyboards) beside him. The rhythm section displays lots of expertise in working together to creating catchy hooks and riffs- as a matter of fact, one of my favorite moments on the album is the grungy riff during “Want Too Much”.
It’s obvious that Smash is more than a wannabe 80’s record released in 2017. After one listen it is clear that a lot of thought and effort was put into this record, and it shows through some great solos and well composed/produced tracks. Every song on Smash has a purpose- whether it’s meant to be fun and upbeat or bluesy with a hint of country, they all hit their mark.