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Stephen Pearcy Social Intercourse

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Tuesday, September 10, 2002 @ 3:36 PM

(Triple X)

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Ratt founder/former frontman and lead growler Stephen Pearcy is back for the attack with his first official solo outing, the long awaited Social Intercourse, an 11 song offering that mixes classic Ratt n’ Roll hard rock strut with some current sounding metal crunch. Predictably, his bread and butter hard rock lite material comes off a whole lot better than the attempts at current sounding detuned metal, and it’s not because Pearcy’s voice can’t handle the assault, but merely that the tunes aren’t as strong. The man just sounds more comfortable when singing on top of driving rock n’ roll riffs than pummeling sludge metal.

The opener, “I Gotta Be Me,” sounds like a statement aimed straight at his former bandmates as a result of their bitter parting. Yes, Bobby Blotzer and Warren DiMartini may be carrying on without him with Love/Hate’s Jizzy Pearl filling in, but Pearcy reminds fans here that it’s his voice they grew up with and his tunes they have been humming since their teens. Name-checking several classic Ratt titles in the lyrics make his mission statement clear: “Fuck you guys, I’m back.” The punky “Turn It Upside Down” finds Pearcy in a particularly mean and nasty mood as well, spittin’ out rapid-fire lyrics as fast as the band can crank out the super-charged riff.

“Can’t Ever Get Enough” is the most is the most overtly Ratt sounding number on this album. With it’s chugging power chord riffing and it’s sing-a-long pop chorus, it sounds like it could be right off Dancing Undercover, completed with Juan Croucier-sounding backing vocals and typical slip n’ slide sexual lyrics from Pearcy. “In Like Pink” opens with a “You’re In Trouble”-style bass riff that also harkens to the Ratt days and will please old school fans, as will “Ya Gotta Love That” and “Live To Die,” which throw a little Aero-boogie into the mix to great results.

However, the results are not so pleasing when Pearcy and Co. go for the throat on the heavier numbers. The main problem on tunes like “In The Corner” and “Ya Talkin’ To Me” is that the tunes themselves are mainly just big ol’ riffs with little in the way of an actual song to back them up. In addition, Pearcy’s vocals come off less convincing on these tunes, as his anger and pain doesn’t come through his vocals the way it does through someone like Phil Anselmo, or the king of pain himself, Layne Staley.

Throughout the CD, Pearcy is in surprisingly strong vocal form, considering how much flack he gets for being a shitty singer, I think he does a damn good job of redeeming himself here. Grungy cuts such as “Five Finger” and “Freak” do not help his case though, as he comes off sounding old and tired. When he sings is his higher register, he’s fine (he may not have the greatest voice in the world, but it’s the same one we all grew up with and it’s in fine form here), but when he tries to get all down n’ dirty and “heavy” it sounds forced and he come off much less cocksure… and if it’s one thing Pearcy has always had going for him, it’s confidence… and his cock!

Anyways, Social Intercourse will surely satisfy old school fans who need a little fix of their Ratt N’ Roll, and may even win over some new fans with it’s metallic side (though I suspect not as many as the band might hope). Either ways, though, with so many ‘80s hard rockers churning out shitty reunion albums like it’s going out of style (and make no mistake about it, it is), it’s nice to see someone just lose his disgruntled bandmates, go solo, and make a big ol’ hard rock record like the old days. There may be a coupla misfires here and there but waaaaay less than even the best albums by Britny Fox, Warrant, or (dare I say it?) Love/Hate… so what the fuck?

…and let the rants start….now!!!!

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