Ratt's The Atlantic Years 1984-1990: should history have been kinder?

Ratt’s first five albums, finally retrieved from the cellar

Ratt: The Atlantic Years 1984-1990
(Image: © Cherry Red)

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It’s easy to be blasé about Ratt’s career, reducing it to a brief moment of back-combed brilliance as hair metal screeched into the spotlight, followed by three decades of bickering and lawyers’ invoices. And there’s little doubt that diminishing returns came into play across the five albums they released for Atlantic. 

Out Of The Cellar (1984) is puffed up and confident – all Van Halen guitar squeals and big choruses – while 1990’s Detonator shows clear signs of metal fatigue; Desmond Child had been brought in to assist with the songwriting, but buoyancy had been replaced by bluster and it all sounded formulaic and tired.

Ratt might not have had the loose-limbed swagger of pop metal’s best – their approach to songwriting was always too rigid for that – but they were more than mere wannabes. 

Give It All and Between The Eyes (from 1985’s Invasion Of Your Privacy) are as good as the classic Round And Round, and the band finally loosened up on Way Cool Jr. (from 1988’s Reach For The Sky), which sounds like Aerosmith grooving on ZZ Top

By then it was probably too late, but Out Of The Cellar didn’t sell three million copies for no reason, whatever the revisionists might say.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.