TANGLED IN REINS
Released 1992 (MCA)
Billboard Chart Position #144
01. Loaded Mutha
02. Sticky Side Up
03. Electric Love Child
04. Late For The Party
05. All Your Love
06. Love ‘Em And I’m Gone
07. Take Me Back Home
09. Mama Don’t You Cry
10. Dancin’ In The Fire
Mike Matijevic – vocals and piano
Chris Risola – guitar
Frank DiCostanzo – guitar
James Ward – bass
John Fowler – drums and percussion
C.J. Vanston – keyboards
Brad Buxer – keyboards
Jeff Scott Soto – backing vocals
Produced by Tom Werman and Mike Matijevic.
“I ain’t got time to listen!” Regardless the opening verse of this disc, you have to make time. Anyone with a pulse who listens to this kind of music knows the name Steelheart and has heard the ungodly range Mike Matijevic can reach from their self-titled debut and his vocal work in the movie Rock Star. However, with the passing of the band from recording work it’s blatantly obvious the general public has not had the pleasure of hearing this Steelheart release.
Steelheart released three discs in their short career, the afore-mentioned self-titled debut and the third in name only – it basically served as a platform for Matijevic to explore his musical interests as a solo act. This middle release is definitely the pinnacle of their career, taking the musical momentum their first release created and expounded upon it. Gone are the overly sappy ballads, replaced by deeper, better developed tracks.
“Electric Love Child” has a funky groove, fusing elements of 70s big rock with a modern feel. The aggression and energy pours from the track “Steelheart”, sounding every bit of what the dark prelude to Skid Row‘s “18 And Life” could have been. “Late For The Party” and “Sticky Side Up” are straight ahead rockers hinting at good times to come.
“All Your Love” and “Mama Don’t You Cry” represent this disc’s softer side yet much more groomed than previous offerings such as “Angel Eyes” or “Can’t Stop Me From Loving You”. The sole disappointment on this disc to me was the final track, “Dancin’ in the Fire”, which sounds like they had one last spot to fill and nothing better to fill it with. A weak note to end an otherwise excellent effort.
As I listen to this disc 14 years after it was released I’m surprised that it doesn’t have a dated sound. True, it doesn’t sound like much of the music pouring from rock stations on the radio today, however it does possess a timeless feeling, a feeling that another 10 or 15 years could go by and this will still be a great disc.
Reviewed by Brutus for Sleaze Roxx, September 2006.