Ratt - 1986 Dancing Undercover

edited August 2 in year-1986

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ARTIST: Ratt
ALBUM: Dancing Undercover
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 81683-1
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1990, Atlantic, 81683-2

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image

LINEUP: Stephen Pearcy - vocals * Warren DeMartini - guitars * Robbin Crosby - guitars * Juan Croucier - bass * Bobby Blotzer - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dance * 02 One Good Lover * 03 Drive Me Crazy * 04 Slip Of The Lip * 05 Body Talk * 06 Looking For Love * 07 7th Avenue * 08 It Doesn't Matter * 09 Take A Chance * 10 Enough Is Enough

Background

If anyone had thought 1984's triple platinum, top ten 'Out Of The Cellar' was a fluke, then the further top ten placing of 1985 follow up 'Invasion Of Your Privacy' helped Ratt prove doubters wrong.

Ratt had risen to arena level performers and rivalled fellow hard rock/metal contemporaries like Motley Crue for North American supremacy of an ever burgeoning scene.

'Dancing Undercover' was their fourth album in successive years (counting 1983's 'Ratt E.P.) and continued in the same vein as its predecessors, with an even balance of hard rock with hints of metal.

It didn't chart as well, only hitting no 26, but single 'Dance' fared reasonably, reaching no 59.

The Songs

Ratt's main problem, as would prove to be for the duration of their 1984-90 heyday, was the inconsistency of their material.

The mixture of instantly memorable tracks mixed with inexcusable filler was glaringly noticeable here, more so than on 'Invasion'.

Side one is five perfect pieces of hard rock, evidenced by 'Dance' and its naughty chorus, a Ratt trait obviously.

The use of metal riffs combined with commercial hooks works well with 'One Good Lover' and the non-stop, breathless excitement of 'Drive Me Crazy', an obscure Ratt classic. Blotzer adds some bombastic quality to the latter and Pearcy is at his raunchy best.

'Slip Of The Lip' typified Ratt's sex driven choruses and the metallic approach of 'Body Talk' confirmed both as Ratt favourites, later to be featured on the '81-91' retrospective in 1991.

Side two features no definitive material making this an album of two halves indeed. 'Looking For Love' is the pick of the bunch, simply because of it's sheer heaviness.

But '7th Avenue', 'It Doesn't Matter' 'Take A Chance' and 'Enough Is Enough' lapse into boredom, with nothing infectious about any of them.

Indeed I recall nodding off in my car to these once, eyes barely flickering! None of the hooks stick out, leading one to think that the better tracks should have been evenly spread more.

In Summary

The audiences were still buying however, and Ratt managed to maintain a position near the top of the LA hierarchy.

Bon Jovi, who had opened for Ratt, soon left them behind with 'Slippery When Wet' and following this Ratt seemed decidedly second division, even if 1988's 'Reach For The Sky' was another worthy effort, 'only' going gold however.

In an interview conducted before he died, Robbin Crosby admitted things went downhill immediately following 'Out Of The Cellar', and that little effort was put into producing really strong albums.

That could explain the inconsistency that plagues 'Dancing Undercover', a showcase of a band who when they wanted were easily among the best of their kind, but at their laziest, came frustratingly short of the mark.


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