Review Summary: Here we go again.
Year 1988. Ratt comes back to the studio as a well established act for yet another run for their money. By that time both the band and the fans must have realized that they are not going to reach any new heights (like the sky), so Ratt decided to take it easy and create a set of simple pop-rock-ish tunes. After initial turmoil, the album was once again produced by Beau Hill so all six members of the golden Ratt team were on board once again.
While the previous output - Dancing Undercover kind of lacked memorable hooks, Reach For The Sky is filled with choruses that you will never get out of your head no matter how hard you try. The overall quality of the material differs with each song. They cover a little more musical influences this time from the blues influenced "Way Cool Jr.", through glam metal brilliance of "I Want A Woman", to a heavy metal stampede that is "Chain Reaction". The three mentioned songs also happen to be the highlights of the album. They are lighthearted stadium rock anthems that will make you wish the 80s never went away. Unfortunately that's not the case with all of the songs.
The album feels a little bit messy. The songs don't blend together as flawlessly as on previous Ratt efforts. The lyrics are as lazy as Stephen Pearcy goes, obviously. Vocally he is considerably worse than the last time around, the backing vocals sound kind of annoying at times too. Take "No Surprise" as an example. It could have been a great track. The way that it's done however, makes you wanna cringe every time the chorus comes in and the song is so catchy that it will haunt you in your nightmares. Well, maybe not quite that bad, could have been worse.
It gets worse. I Want To Love You Tonight starts like a power ballad, then goes a little heavier and... it sounds like every 80s band ever only with Stephen Pearcy at his worst on vocals. The two "Whats" - the last two tracks on Reach For The Sky are pointless, they don't have anything new to say musically either, they are just Ratt on autopilot. There are fewer stinkers on here than on Dancing Undercover, but when you get a bad track it's really bad. It's hard to say if the album is better than the last one, I would say so, if you look at the positive.
"City To City" is a quite promising opener, a little different from a typical Ratt song. It's a mid-tempo track that turns up the pace at the end. It doesn't rely as much on vocals as most of Ratt's songs, it lets the guitar drive the music, to satisfying results. "Bottom Line" and "Don't Bite The Hand That Feeds" are two similar tunes with catchy choruses and simplistic guitar riffs. In "Bottom Line" vocals in chorus and guitar have the very same melody, which is not the most inventive idea ever but it works well enough.
Overall, Reach For The Sky is an uneven listening experience. If you are in for an amazing musical journey, then this is not the album you should choose, if you haven't guessed from the album cover. Or the band name. If you prefer fun, sing-along tunes, you will find that this is a very strong glam metal album. It was the last commercial success from the band, reaching platinum status and Way Cool Jr. scoring decent on the singles charts. Later, the band started to fall apart. But they still had one more shot left in them.
Way Cool Jr.
I Want A Woman