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Dancing Undercover

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(34 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • RATT’s third album “Dancing Undercover” (1986) sounds a lot like the first two; Van Halen/KISS derivative hard-rock with a lot of impressive, screeching solos, songs concerning sexual escapades and melodic, sing-along choruses. This time around, however, while the writing is still strong, the songs have a certain looseness to them. The album’s hit singles “Dance,” “Slip of the Lip” and “Body Talk” have a certain swagger, a groove that makes them utterly irresistible. The rest of the album is also quite good, if not as strong as the singles.

    “Dancing Undercover” is probably RATT’s most underrated album, and I would rank it my second favorite of theirs right after the classic debut “Out of the Cellar.” This isn’t mold-breaking profound stuff here, but it is good, solid 80s rock. There isn’t a lot of filler or obligatory generic power ballads on “Dancing Undercover;” in fact, there are no ballads at all. This album is ten songs worth of dated but totally fun, infectious pop-metal that fans of the genre will love.

    “Dancing Undercover” has the advantage of not having any of its singles played to death on 80s comps or “retro-lunch” radio programs, so for those that love 80s melodic hard-rock, listening to this album will be a fresh and rewarding experience.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Generally, in my opinion Ratt’s albums follow a decline from the beginning of their career to the end (when Robbin died, that was “the end” of Ratt in my opinion). Now, that’s not to say that the albums from the tail end of Ratt’s catalog are bad, because they’re not. If you like Ratt, all of their CDs are pretty good, but I’d say Dancing Undercover is about their 3rd or 4th best effort, behind the Ratt EP, Out of the Cellar, and Invasion of Your Privacy. Dancing Undercover and Reach For The Sky are both solid CDs, and Detonator is kind of a small step down from those. Crosby was still contributing to the material during this one, and Warren DeMartini’s guitar solos are breathtaking as usual. Even Ratt’s “4th best album” is better than most mainstream rock music and worthy of admiration from rockers of any age. If you like the music from the LA glam scene of the 1980s, or are into bands like Motley Crue, Skid Row, Kiss… Ratt’s Dancing Undercover is a CD worth checking out. Standout tracks: Dance, Body Talk, Slip of the Lip.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Ratt here produced a hardrock album that is quite interchangeable with so many second tier bands of their time. LA Guns and Motley Crue are both prime examples of similar contenders. However where Crue produced Dr Feelgood to shift themselves to another place, neither LA Guns nor Ratt managed a similar trick.

    But it ain’t all bad. Solid riffing and vox that aren’t great but at least suit the music and the whole album riding a hard rock, down and dirty groove are three things that it has going for it. Lyrically this is party hard rock with no excuses for wanting to have a good time all the time. With more luck this band could of taken off – I mean this is a better album than Motley Crues Theatre of Pain and on a par with most of Girls Girls Girls. Rather amusingly the band actually had a song on the soundtrack to the weird Eddie Murphy movie The Golden Child – Body Talk.

    Beau Hills production fits the music here, not totally clean and teflon coated but actually suited to the bands Ratt ‘n’ roll sound and the overall feel is that the band by this stage were seasons professionals doing a job. Yet that is also part of the problem. The hard work didn’t pay off and even by this stage Ratt were consigned to also-ran status unalbe to come up with the killer tune to breat the big time or generate the excitement the Crue did even when their music sucked.

    80’s fans should pick up this and Reach for the Sky as they are the two best and most accessible tunes of the genuine Ratt years (ie ignoring reunions etc) and they ain’t half bad slabs or party rawk rock.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Music critics point to Ratt’s first album, “Out of the Cellar”, as their best record, and there’s no doubt: “Out of the Cellar” is a glam metal GEM, no question! However, I personally like “Dancing Undercover” of all of Ratt’s 80’s albums. Maybe it’s the implicit sexuality the album drips with that is “palpable and delicious”, as one reviewer very aptly put it. Maybe it’s the 80’s sound that so many of us still love, but without the commercialism, without the synths and keyboards that so many 80’s metal bands (including the Metal Gods –Judas Priest) began experimenting with. Maybe it’s axeman Warren DeMartini’s crunching riffs and intricate solos, and frontman Stephan Pearcy’s raspy voice that together give Ratt their distinctive, trademark, sleazy sound. Maybe because Ratt seemed to be able to pull off a metal album that you could make love to as easily as you could flat-out ROCK to. It could be any of these things that make this album Ratt’s best work.And I ought to mention that from start to finish, this album is arranged and produced perfectly. Each song’s rhythm, beat, and pulse gives way nicely to the next song, giving a fluidity to the arrangement of the songs. Throughout the album there isn’t a slow spot to be had, though Ratt bumps along with different tempos as the album progresses.This album is also the complete Ratt package. There are no filler songs, no songs that seem “thrown in” to disrupt the flow of the album. But while these songs could easily stand alone as singles not heard in context with their counterparts, the metal you will find here is better heard when the whole album is heard from start to finish. Listening through will also magnify the sensuality hidden within this album.The first six tracks are fast and furious, decadent and lustful. The opening track “Dance” is about an 18 year old girl dancing in a club that grabs the attention of a male onlooker, and soon they are dancing in the bedroom. Appropriately, “One Good Lover” is the follow-up track, as “Dance” seamlessly gives way to it, the two flowing together so well that you have to listen carefully to know when the songs change. The energy goes on, again appropriately, with the rhythm, licks, and lyrics of “Drive Me Crazy,” a song that links “One Good Lover” and the next song, “Slip of the Lip”, perfectly. “Slip” begins a set of four songs that are both implicit and explicit in their sexuality and sleaze. The titles of songs 4-7 alone will exemplify this enough, and guitar solos, the drumming, the bass playing, the lyrics– everything– just add to the sensation and the driving beat. And if no other song other than “Dance” on here is even noticeable, “Body Talk” should be, and for good reason: it’s fast, it’s bottom-heavy, it’s driving, and it hits full force with a excellent display of the Ratt and Roll strut, attitude, and hooks.The closing three tracks bring the album nicely to a close, though they leave you wanting even MORE than the ten songs that you get! But after a breathless first seven tracks, these songs, while maintaining the continuity of the album and holding true to the context, the theme, and the overall sound of the album, allow you to slow down a little, to take it easy– slow, sensual, but still very much exuberant, sleazy, and alive.So it could be a lot of things that make this album my personal favorite metal album, and quite possibly Ratt’s finest production. But it could also be just be the best “because it is.”

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Now before anyone looks at my three star rating and assumes it’s a knock to this album, hear me out. I usually reserve five stars for an album that is timeless — something like Led Zeppelin IV or The Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper” album. Something that has left an indelible stamp on the face of the music industry. Four stars is reserved for the a great album that, while not a classic, is exceptional. For me, “Dancin’ Undercover” is a good album, not a great album. I remember buying this after wearing out my “Out of the Cellar” and “Invasion of Your Privacy” tapes. It was released in 1986 to a lot of hype in the music magazines of the day, as well as teaser clips on MTV. You’d think this album was going to be the end-all-be-all of, well, everything. As soon as it came out, I shelled out my cash and bought a copy on tape. I listened to it once and was instantly underwhelmed. Whoa… only “Slip of the Lip” stood out. I listened again and took a liking to “7th Avenue,” but everthing else seemed so uninspired. Stephen Pearchy’s voice still sounded good, Warren DeMartini was still impressive, but something was missing. To this day, I still can’t put my finger on it. I’d place this as my fourth favorite album by the band, following “Out of the Cellar,” “Detonator,” and “Invasion of your Privacy.” It’s not a bad album, I still enjoy listening to it, it’s just not a “great” album to me.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now