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Articles Home » 1988 Articles » Ratt - 1988 Reach For The Sky
Ratt - 1988 Reach For The Sky

ALBUM: Reach For The Sky
LABEL: Atlantic
SERIAL: 7 81929-2
YEAR: 1988
CD REISSUE: 2015, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY282


LINEUP: Stephen Pearcy - lead vocals, vocals * Warren De Martini - guitars, backing vocals * Robbin Crosby - guitars, backing vocals * Juan Croucier - bass, backing vocals * Bobby Blotzer - drums, percussion, harmonica, washboard

TRACK LISTING: 01 City To City * 02 I Want A Woman * 03 Way Cool JR * 04 Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds * 05 I Want To Love You Tonight * 06 Chain Reaction * 07 No Surprise * 08 Bottom Line * 09 What's It Gonna Be * 10 What I'm After


You can tell when a band are on the demise. By this stage of their career, Ratt's personnel weren't even on the same page. Infighting, egos, booze, drugs, it all came home to roost during the era that this album was recorded. It's easy to dismiss this as their worst ever album, but when the band aren't cohesive in the studio the results show. From what I've read, some of the parts to this album were recorded separately. Not a great way to record an album (you can get away with it in 2011), and not a great sign to be giving your fan-base. What Ratt do, they do with consistency. By 1988 however, it would be fair to say that the band were struggling with song ideas and delivery.

The Songs
To my ears, it's pretty much a case of going through the motions. When you've heard one Ratt riff, it tends to reappear over and over again. Freshness and staleness seem to meet in no-man's land on 'Reach For The Sky'. For sure, Ratt's players are all very competent, but by this stage, they were probably a couple of years past their use-by-date, given the state of the music industry as it was back in 1988. Listening to this album again reinforces my view that there's very little in the way stickability. That might seem a tad unfair, but we were spoiled by their previous albums, so there's a certain high standard that needed to be retained, which wasn't done so here. There's only a couple of contenders that do it for me.. one of those is the ripping 'Chain Reaction', which could be Dokken on any other day. 'What's It Gonna Be' has a nice shape to it, but the trademark guitar sound is changed. However I like it. 'Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds' is as close to their glorious past, but beyond that, the rest is so-so. 'Way Cool Jnr' is plain silly, while 'City To City' and 'I Want A Woman' are play-by-numbers tunes given Ratt's past material.

In Summary
As mentioned, the earlier albums are the bees-knees for this band, though in fairness, they did recoup for 1990's 'Detonator' which is much better than this, and then two decades later, confounding all the pundits yet again with the excellent 2010 set 'Infestation'. A band well covered in the MTV and VH1 universes, but truly, unless you were a supreme die-hard Ratt fan, this is an album to avoid.

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#1 | jeffrey343 on November 25 2011 00:46:20
There may be a dropoff on this album, but I don't think it is a particularly large one. To me, filler from RATT is still better that most other hard rock. The hooks may not be as obvious, but their sound and style still elevate the material to a high plane.

I didn't actually get this album in 1988, but I heard "Way Cool Jr." and "I Want A Woman" on the radio / MTV. Getting a record / cassette / CD was a larger commitment than it is these days. and as a college student, I had less disposable income than I do now, and I guess I thought I'd outgrown these guys. Looking back, I think I would have liked this as much as their first three, even though I don't think I was playing them a whole lot at the time.
#2 | reyno-roxx on November 25 2011 08:01:49
The cover of this album always amuses me. Even the band didn't understand it!
I saw Ratt a few times on the 'Reach For The Sky' tour when out on the road with Britny Fox (who were second on the bill with Kix third) and while they were great on stage musically, Pearcy's vocals were often lacking. I'd heard him in better vocal shape live, put it that way. I interviewed Robbin backstage in Newhaven, CT for a 'Kerrang!' feature. Very amiable guy yet tragically he admitted he had to drink a bottle of Jack Daniels before we talked and this was before he went on stage. Talented guy. What a waste. R.I.P.
#3 | super80boy on January 17 2016 19:37:17
Listening to this front to back again after many years yielded a lot of great tracks, even if many of them are considered 'filler' candidates. The reasoning behind why Ratt choose 'Way Cool Jr.' as the album single is beyond me, they had so many other better cuts to choose from...Even with the band imploding by the late 80's, Ratt were still considered better than many of their peers. The songs 'I Want A Woman', 'Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds', 'Chain Reaction', 'No Surprise' and 'What's It Gonna Be' are all spot on melodic pop metal feasts.
#4 | gdazegod on January 17 2016 20:39:57
Totally agree on that Gil.. 'Way Cool Jnr' was just the silliest idea to promote as a single. Shock
#5 | jeffrey343 on January 18 2016 05:03:34
I think 'Way Cool Jr.' was actually a pretty decent choice - probably had a bit more appeal to the non-rock audience. This and 'Detonator' usually get a couple of spins each month during workouts. The musicianship on RATT's albums is top notch and sounds great under headphones.
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