Dancing Undercover

REVIEW: Ratt – Dancing Undercover (Part Three of The Atlantic Years series)

Part Three of Five

RATT – Dancing Undercover (Originally 1986, 2020 reissue — The Atlantic Years 1984-1990 box set)

Ratt’s fortunes continued to fall on their third album Dancing Undercover.  Their debut went triple platinum and the second album went double.  You didnt need an expert prognosticator to predict that the third album would go platinum and no further.  Which is still very respectable, but the trend was not good.

Opening single “Dance” was solid, with a poppy melody and stuttery 80s guitar lick.  Sleazy pop, rodent style.  A stock Ratt prowler comes second, called “One Good Lover”.  It packs punch, wicked guitars, and a few decent hooks.  Without missing a beat, they accelerate into “Drive Me Crazy” which has a speedy Hollywood-built engine.  Drummer Bobby Blotzer impresses with the machine gun fills.  Unsurprisingly, the drummer has a writing credit on it.  Decent tune, with a clunky arrangement.

The band slides into “Slip of the Lip”, which made for a pretty cool live-style video.  It is a clear album highlight, and most successfully nails the sleaze rock vibe that Ratt peddle in.    They end the first side on the incendiary “Body Talk”; straight-up Ratt thrash.  Probably the heaviest Ratt track ever, even “Body Talk” made for a wicked video.  It was hard to picture Ratt pushing it this fast and hard, but they did, and successfully so.

“Looking For Love” had to be a sleaze rocker. The second side doesn’t open on a great song, but it certainly is a Ratt song.  You couldn’t mistake it for any of their peers.  It does boast a pretty good chorus, even if the rest of the song doesn’t quite nail it.  On the other hand, “7th Avenue” has a menacing vibe and not much else.  “It Doesn’t Matter” has some life.  Unfortunately the second side just doesn’t have enough bite, nor enough good songs.  “Take a Chance” borrows a few chords from “Slip of the Lip” but isn’t nearly as good.  At least the closer “Enough is Enough” has a nice clean guitar part for variety’s sake, but side two is virtually without hooks.

This edition comes with a single edit of “Dance” as the bonus track, which at least allows the album to end on a good song, albeit a repeated one.

2.75/5 stars

The Atlantic Years 1984-1990: