|Ratt – 'Infestation' (Roadrunner/Loud & Proud)|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Tuesday, 20 April 2010 05:00|
I think it's pretty safe to say that if you were looking for a rock band to sum up the term 'Marmite band' then Ratt would most probably take the top spot in a lot of people's minds. Take HRH III for example and the six people in our chalet, four loved the band and two hated them, no kind of middle ground apathy just outright love or hate...Which is I'm sure you will agree is pretty damn strange.
It might be Stephen Pearcy's voice, it might be the 'bubblegum' nature of some of their earlier hit albums/songs or it might just be you don't get the band, but whichever way I look at it, Ratt pretty much ruled my world back in the mid Eighties.
'Infestation' is the band's first album since their self-titled album for Portrait back in 1999, and retains the core of Stephen Pearcy, Bobby Blotzer, Warren DeMartini and Robbie Crane from that album, whilst boosting their ranks with ex Quiet Riot six-stringer Carlos Cavazo this time around. Written and recorded during a period of just over a year, the album is produced by Michael "Elvis" Baskette (of Iggy Pop, Stone Temple Pilots and Alter Bridge fame) and the eleven tracks that make up 'Infestation' capture the sound of a band once again looking to tell the world about how great they are, rather than simply trade on past glories.
Kicking off 'Infestation' with an unmistakable DeMartini riff, 'Eat Me Up Alive' throws you headlong into some primetime Ratt 'n' Roll with Pearcy stalking his pray stage edge, presiding over a razor sharp hook. It may have a hint of 'You're In Love' about it, but what the heck? This is Ratt at their most fun and I'm more than ready to play along.
Next up is the lead single from the album, and quite possibly the best song the band has penned since their 1985 heyday. 'Best Of Me' has 'hit' written all over it, and built on a similar refrain to Van Halen's 'Unchained' it sticks in your head long enough for you to start wondering just what it is you're constantly humming.
'Little Too Much', 'Look Out Below' and 'Last Call' meanwhile keep up the strong song writing on display, before 'Lost Weekend' asks "Are You Ready For The Big Fun?" unleashing the band's heaviest riff since 'Lack Of Communication'.
The heaviness doesn't stop there either, with 'As Good As It Gets', 'Garden Of Eden', 'Take A Big Bite' and album closer 'Don't Let Go' all featuring some top class musicianship. The thunderous 'Blotz' snare attack that introduces the latter track harks back to the band's first EP and 'Sweet Cheater', which immediately had me going full circle back to what got me into Ratt the first time around.
Amidst all the bluster and ferocity let's not overlook the little gem that is 'Take Me Home'. Quietly understated, this track along with 'Best Of Me' is the type of song the band would have had playing non-stop on radio stations in the US just a few decades previous. Whilst 'Infestation' may be not quite as 'complete' as the Beau Hill produced highs of 'Out Of The Cellar' or 'Invasion Of Your Privacy' this album still stands head and shoulders above their contemporaries recent recorded outputs (anyone mention Kiss?).
2010 then should be a great year for Ratt, with a cracking return to form album wise, a world tour booked that includes a return to the Castle Donington stage for the first time since 1985, the band's destiny really does look like it's back in their hands once again. One thing you can be sure of though is that unlike the yeasty spread they often get compared with, Ratt's own brand of fabric softener will not be coming to a supermarket near you soon.