Stephen Pearcy - Fueler

The photograph on the back of 'Fueler' shows Pearcy (avec devil horns pointing to the gods) clad in a RATT shirt. The message is clear: This might be a solo album, and (incredulously) it might be Jizzy Pearl fronting my erstwhile band, but let's not forget who the real singer of RATT is. And let's face it -- he has a point. It might not be to everyone's taste, but Pearcy has quite a distinctive voice. It effectively defined RATT's music -- which makes the whole experience of seeing poor old Pearcy wearing a T-shirt of a band he's (currently, at least) not a part of, on the back of his solo CD, quite lugubrious-looking. The subliminal message suggests: 'Here I am, but where the hell are the rest of them?'

If all this sounds like journalistic fodder, imagine the scene if Pearcy was fronting Jizzy's Love/Hate. It wouldn't work. It wouldn't/ shouldn't work only on a par with Jizzy fronting RATT. Sort it out, fellas.

The music. Ironically, the blistering opener 'Overdrive' sounds nothing like RATT nor Love/Hate. It's contemporary-ish rock with an unrecognisable Pearcy screaming through an overdrive pedal for all his Shotgun Messiah circa 'Violent New Breed' worth. The only thing missing is the tokenistic news report samples. The song is short, sharp, and to the point. As are all of the tracks. (The longest track comes in at a mere 3:14 seconds.)

Pearcy sounds angry and with a point to prove. Sadly, Pearcy strives so hard to sound un-Pearcy, that he ends up sounding anonymous and very indistinctive. Shame.

'Godsmack' sounds every bit as post-grunge and disaffected as the name suggests. 'Drive With Me' wants to be Pantera. Shit knows what's going on with the next couple -- 'Spy Vs Spy' and 'Young and the Damned/King'. It's not until 'Dream Machine' (track 8) that Pearcy's vocals suddenly become recognisable. Ditto with the next one, the bluesy 'Gambler's and Thieves'. The interestingly multilayered 'Sinomatic' has surrealistic aspirations for something, but those aspirations have permissibly been realised by a pro-voodoo Faster Pussycat circa 'Wake Me Up...' years ago. Its abrupt ending implies nothing but a lack of ideas.

'Fueler' is a paradoxical CD produced by a man mourning for the past whilst still striving to produce something which sounds fresh and vital. Consequently he achieves neither.

by Darren Edwards

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