CD REVIEW: STEPHEN PEARCY – Smash

Label: Frontiers Music SRL

Release Date: January 27, 2017

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Stephen Pearcy’s latest release is a Jekyll and Hyde type of disc… and that’s a good thing.  There are songs that show off his songwriting prowess as the front man and co-writer for most of RATT’s hits and fan favorites and there are also songs that point at his diversity and the direction he headed on a lot of his solo material – darker, deeper, and different.  Disc opener “I Know I’m Crazy” starts us off in Pearcy’s mind with dark matter rising to the top.  The lyrics are strong and resonate while the crunch of the guitars and heavy handed bottom end of the musical landscape deliver a different feel than some fans might be used to.  “Ten Miles Wide” opens up with a guitar riff and a pounding rhythm section that screams 80’s rock.  The layered vocals on the chorus are huge and build a wall of sound that rivals any on this disc.  “Dead Roses” is straight out of Stephen’s solo vein with chugging riffs and droning bottom end sounds a lot like something from the Vicious Delite release (which I loved).  The chorus is fun and the cadence gets the foot tapping.  “Hit Me With A Bullet” is a killer track that comes at you from the first note and doesn’t let up until the final note has been played.  The tempo of this song is fun and insures you will rock your ass off.  Pearcy’s vocals seem simple on this track, but his tone is perfect and he rips through the lyrics like a shotgun blast.  “Want Too Much” has that heavier groove that reminds me of the solo and side project releases from Pearcy’s past.  The rhythm section nails the groove underneath while the vocals and guitars work off of each other through the verse and into the chorus and bridge.  “Jamie” is the catchiest track on the disc, thanks to the chugging riffs, charging bass lines, and one of the most contagious I have heard in a long time.  The guitar solo at the bridge has enough pings, squeals, and tapping to please any rocker.  Not to mention, it is hard to not like a song that shares a name with your spouse!  “Summers End” takes us out on a different note and sound than we have grown accustomed to on this disc, but different isn’t bad.  The feel of the guitars adds a different dimension to the disc, while Stephen’s vocals strike through the heart of the lyrics and give us a slightly skewed view of him as a writer and performer, as he doesn’t rely on the same old sound.  Hang out long enough to feel the song build with percussion, bass, and layered guitars.

“Shut Down Baby” has a cool feel to it that merges the two sides of Stephen and gives us a taste something slightly different without deviating from the vibe of the rest of the disc.  The guitars have a cool sound that hooks you and draws you into the groove of the track.  “Lollipop” is another song that leans towards the more mainstream music Pearcy is famous for.  The riffs are solid and the thick chorus builds the sound of the track, while the vocals takes us from verse to chorus and back again without changing the feel of the track – think “Way Cool Jr. 2017.”  “Rain” is another song on the collection that seems to marry the two sides of Pearcy as a songwriter and singer.  The darker lyrical content reflects nicely against the different textures and sounds of the arrangement, especially when piano and strings are introduced into the mix.  While not the catchiest track, this is certainly the most telling of where SEP is in 2017 as a songwriter.  “What Do Ya Think” takes a side road, bringing us a totally different song sonically, but with instantly recognizable vocals from Stephen this song fits within the sound of the other tracks musically.  “I Can’t Take It” is a driving track that could just as easily appeared on any RATT release – past or current.  The guitars have that signature sound, the vocals are classic Pearcy, and the overall vibe of the track has that party feel.  “Passion Infinity” takes us instantly to the other end of the pool with darker subject matter and vocals that bear the intensity of the lyrics.  The music is solid and easily handles the shift in tempo between the verse and chorus and back again.

Band: Stephen E. Pearcy (Lead Vocals, Back-up Vocals) – Erik Ferentinos (Rhythm & Lead Guitars, Back-up vocals) – Greg D’Angelo (Drums, Percussion) – Matt Thorn – (Bass Guitar) – Chris Hager (Guitars, Lead Guitars on track 3)

Tracklisting: I Know I’m Crazy – Ten Miles Wide – Shut Down Baby – Dead Roses – Lollipop – Hit Me With A Bullet – Rain – Want Too Much – What Do Ya Think – Jamie – I Can’t Take It – Passion Infinity – Summers End

STEPHEN PEARCY LINKS:

OFFICIAL SITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

SMASH – ITUNES

CD REVIEW: STEPHEN PEARCY - Smash

Filed Under: Music Reviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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