There’s no point starting this review anywhere else. Stephen Pearcy is the bloke from Ratt. Normally, you’d try and eschew the obvious, but it’ll only take twenty seconds before you realise you are basically listening to a Ratt album.
There’s a few bars of some eerie keyboard sound, before that voice comes in – the voice that Pearcy has always more or less defined the sleaze sound – and the riff to “U Only Live Twice” chugs in. You’d swear it was 1984 all over again.
And it’s ace.
“View To A Thrill” is not just Pearcy’s fifth solo record, but is probably his best. He’s back to his best most certainly and in Erik Ferentinos he has found a phenomenal musician to back up his vision.
Ferentinos plays all guitars here, and his work is outstanding, giving songs like “Sky Falling” (and I honestly don’t know if there’s a Bond theme here, never having seen a Bond film, I might not be the boy for this….) a real sheen of class.
Likewise, “Malibu” manages to pull of the trick of being absolutely rooted in the music I – and you imagine a good many people buying this – grew up with – but never sounding dated. It never gets cliched, because Pearcy and Ferentinos buy into this completely – and my goodness, can they write a chorus and a hook. “One In A Million” is just that, given that you will be able to sing it after the first go around, and “Double Shot” just oozes (leaks?) sleaze all over the place. Right down to the “Love In A Elevator” nod of “oooh Mr. Pearcy, is that shaken not stirred?” at the end (actually, given that this references another load of Bond films in the lyrics, I obviously have missed a massive point here…..).
“Secrets To Tell” – this one mentions “Goldeneye” I think I am onto the case now…..- has a pre-chorus that just screams “Detonator” era Ratt, and just when you think this record can’t get any better than it unveils its blockbuster. “Not Killin’ Me”. On one hand it’s a mid-paced rocker but peel it away and it’s impossible not to resist its beguiling charms. Songs aren’t this catchy, they just aren’t.
“Dangerous Thing” is a little more muscular, while “I’m A Ratt” barely needs any explanation. He is, he was and on this evidence, forever will be. “From The Inside” has – to these ears anyway – the air of a latter day Alice Cooper song about it (praise doesn’t come much higher) and the closing “Violator” is interesting because it is a touch brooding, a little malevolent even, as if it comes in with a whiff of violence, it shows that chances could have been taken.
Ultimately, though, “View To A Thrill” isn’t that sort of record. It’s a record for those, like me, that had a Ratt patch on their denim jackets in 1991. It is a brilliant one too. And even though there’s probably a whole James Bond concept I haven’t understood in the collection, I do know this: The man with the license to thrill for all these years is bang on target here.