There's something about early-Eighties rock that still (but not always) excites me: the powerful vocals, the effortless melodies, just the sheer simplicity of it all. And Steeplechase — a quartet that flamed out in the mid-'80s like an overworked racehorse — is a prime example. Formed in 1975 by top players on the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut club scene, Steeplechase originally started out as a pop covers band with both male and female singers. It wisely abandoned that road and finally found a worthy rock vocalist in Joe Lamente — who gave the band a distinct voice, a la Toto's Bobby Kimball. In 1981, Steeplechase released its self-titled debut on tiny Big City Records.
Opening with the catchy "Only You Love Only Me," this gem of an album still ranks as a fun spin. Songs like "Move On" and "Shangri-La" will take you back to the heyday of FM radio (even if they never got airplay outside of the Northeastern United States), and their sweet harmonies will have you lip-synching in front of the mirror (just like the good ol' days). Meanwhile, "All I Need Is Your Love" could have been a Cars track, and "Find Your Way Home" is not only similar to the title of a Jefferson Starship song, it sounds like that band, too — even though it came before "Find Your Way Back." The songwriting suffers a tad on the album's second half, with generic tracks "Only Human" and "Rock & Roll Appetite" falling flat. Sadly, Lamente was gone a year later, to join a band called Shelter.
Kudos, nevertheless, to Metal Mind Productions in Poland for reviving interest in this long-forgotten band via a limited-edition digipak reissue — even though Steeplechase was far from metal-minded.
(NOTE: This is billed as a remastered recording, featuring seven bonus tracks cut with Lamente's replacement, Matthew Hill. But the numbered edition we received — 0927 — contained only the album's original nine tracks.)
1) Only You Love Only Me
3) Don't Go
4) Move On
5) My Mind's Made Up
6) Only Human
7) All I Need Is Your Love
8) Find Your Way Home
9) Rock & Roll Appetite