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CD Review: RATT

BY ERIC ANDERSEN | APRIL 20, 2010 7:30 AM

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Randy “The Ram” Robinson: “God — they don't make ’em like they used to.”

Cassidy: “F—’ ’80s man, best s— ever.”

Randy “The Ram” Robinson: “Then that Cobain p— had to come around and ruin it all.”

Cassidy: “Like there’s something wrong with just wanting to have a good time?”

Randy “The Ram” Robinson: “I’ll tell you somethin’, I hate the f—’ ’90s.”

The dialogue from Darren Aronofsky’s 2008 film The Wrestler — where the two main characters are bonding over the RATT song “Round and Round” and a love of the ’80s — is the first thing that came to mind when listening to RATT’s latest album, Infestation.

While not mind-blowing, the CD (released more than 10 years after the 1999 self-titled reunion album) captures the rock ’n’ roll excess exhibited by Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard, Dokken, and even RATT itself, that made the ’80s so cool (albeit with some raspier vocals from founding member Stephen Pearcy and cleaner production).

From the opening metal riffs of “Eat Me Up Alive” to the album’s closer “Don’t Let Go,” there are enough memorable moments on Infestation that it may even surpass the band’s early classics, Out of the Cellar and Invasion of Your Privacy, that helped spawn the hair-metal genre.

Eighties music was all about partying (which was not limited to, but usually involved, some sex and drugs in addition to the rock ’n’ roll), and Infestation is no exception. The lyrics — which ooze with innuendoes — are often immature and even cliché, but somehow Pearcy has enough charisma to make them work.

You always hear the old saying that the average male thinks of sex every seven seconds. Well, Pearcy probably thinks about it twice as much.

Later in the album, on “Don’t Let Go,” he sings, “I’m gonna get me some leg tonight for sure / And I don’t care who I’m with / You know I’m slightly crazy, a little insane / But that’s just who I am.”

While the above lyrics are pure ’80s, the musician does sing about slightly more than chasing tail down the streets of LA.

On the chugging rocker, “A Little Too Much,” Pearcy gets reflective, singing, “You’re always wanting to crucify me, why do you have such hate? You better look in the mirror baby it’s time to seal your fate.” The vocalist could just as easily be bashing all of the musicians that put down the glam scene, as opposed to talking about a past fling.

In addition to the raunchy lyrics, the ’80s was also the decade for over-the-top guitar solos. Lead guitarist Warren DeMartini delivers on that end with soaring leads that sound straight out of the era in which dudes spent as much time teasing their hair as they did practicing their instruments (that’s to say, they did both, a lot).

The dual guitar harmonies closing out “Take a Big Bite,” are just one example of the talent of guitarists DeMartini and Carlos Cavazo, and there are also plenty of modern sounding riffs mixed in that give the album a heavier edge than previous efforts from the band.

No matter what other people will say, the ’80s was a fun time for music, and while it may be cheesy, there is something that keeps listeners coming back for more. And Infestation is the best slab of glam to come out in a while.


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