I'm not going to spend much time doing a background build up on FM. If you love melodic rock and AOR then you will undoubtedly know of this band and would have heard their music. FM are, I think, quite simply the best melodic rock band that the UK has produced and I have been a fan since they first appeared on the scene in 1984. 'Heroes And Villains' is FM's ninth studio album and, true to their recent releases, is a fabulous album from start to finish.
You might think FM's music is unoriginal, even if they have been doing this on and off for 30 years and, to a certain extent, you would be right, but they have this immaculate knack of writing such catchy and beautiful songs, even if you can hear some riffs and melody lines that sound familiar. For example, the verse to second track 'You're The Best Thing About Me' can quite easily have the verse to Def Leppard's 'Animal' sung directly over the top and also has a little bit of The Police about it too. Further tracks bring to mind other artists and songs from Joan Jett to Robert Palmer (listen to 'I Want You') but this is FM and it really doesn't get any better.
Vocalist Steve Overland's voice has never diminished over the years and it's like the smoothest honey. He also reminds me of two of my favourite vocalists in this area of music, although their recent output has somewhat departed from the rock fold. Firstly, John Farnham circa 'The Age Of Reason' album and secondly, and more acutely, Michael Bolton. If you've never heard Bolton's magnificent fourth album, 'Everybody's Crazy', from 1985 then, if you're a fan of FM, you should check it out because there are a lot of similarities! Merv Goldsworthy and Pete Jupp, on bass and drums respectively, work instinctively after so many years as a rhythm team and provide a hugely solid backdrop for the melodies. Jem Davis bathes the tracks in keyboards, but they are never over intrusive. And then last, but not least, the fabulous guitar work of Jim Kirkpatrick, whose solos are perfectly timed and placed within the song. In fact, that's what makes FM so good, they know exactly where to put everything right down to the perfect chord change to make the hair on your arms stand up!
'Heroes And Villains' doesn't spring any surprises, but FM don't need to do that. They know exactly what they want and what their fans want. If you love AOR and melodic rock then this is another no brainer. You won't hear a better album of its type in 2015.
HEROES AND VILLAINS
Review by Rick Tilley
17th April 2015
1) Digging Up the Dirt
2) You're the Best Thing About Me
3) Life is a Highway
4) Fire and Rain
5) Incredible; 6) Call On Me
7) Cold Hearted
8) Shape I'm In
9) Big Brother
10) Somedays I Only Wanna Rock and Roll
11) I Want You
12) Walking With Angels
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"If you love AOR and melodic rock then this is another no brainer. You won't hear a better album of its type in 2015."