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For those of you that don’t know, FM are a British classic rock/AOR band. They formed back in 1984, with two ex-members of NWOBHM legends Sansom in their line-up. They released five studio albums and one live acoustic set before splitting in 1996 in the face of the ‘changing musical tides’ of that time. Fast forward 14 years and FM are back. The line up consists of 3 original members in vocalist Steve Overland, bassist Merv Goldsworthy and drummer Pete Jupp. They are joined by Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar and Jem Davis on keys. ‘Metropolis’ opens with a trio of superb tracks. ‘Wildside’ begins with a pounding intro and is heavy but awash with melody, with Overland sounding similar to a rockier Michael Bolton. ‘Hollow’ is next up and is similar in feel to its predecessor with Overland providing some soulful vocals. ‘Hollow’ was released as a single and even managed to get airplay on BBC Radio 2! ‘Unbreakable’ is the third track of the opening trio and is equally as good as the first two. A soaring vocal performance and good use of acoustic guitar contribute to making an excellent track. ‘Flamingo Road’ follows with an up tempo, bluesy feel. Another good track, although not quite as good as what has come before. This track has a brief section where the lyrics are just ‘Na na na na’ which I feel lets the song down and is even slightly annoying. The title track follows and is a brief, atmospheric instrumental which acts as an intro to ‘Over You’ which possesses a bouncy rhythm and is quite anthemic. ‘Days Gone By’ is next up and contains more annoying ‘Na na na na’s’ but, that aside, is a solid track with some good lyrics with a nostalgic theme, that is carried on in the next track ‘Bring Back Yesterday’ which has a thumping bassline intro. The remainder of the tracks (there are 13 in total on a release that plays for over an hour) don’t deviate much from the blueprint and are all good songs in their own right. I was aware of FM in their first incarnation and, based on that knowledge, was expecting an album with its fair share of ballads and with keyboards to the fore. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find an album of melodic but heavy tracks of real quality. Keyboards are discernable but they very much play second fiddle to the guitar of Jim Kirkpatrick. The real star of this record, though, is Steve Overland, with a vocal performance of real quality. All in all, this is an excellent release, full to the brim with well crafted, heavy classic rock songs, by a resurgent British band who are deserving of our support. For those of you expecting something a bit ‘fluffy’, do yourselves a favour and give this album a listen. Like me, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Riff City Records
Review by Dave Uphill
29th March 2010
1) Wildside; 2) Hollow
3) Unbreakable; 4) Flamingo Road
5) Metropolis; 6) Over You
7) Days Gone By
8) Bring Back Yesterday
9) I Ain't the One
10) Don't Need Nothin'
11) The Extra Mile
12) Who'll Stop the Rain
13) Still the Fight Goes On
"...an excellent release, full to the brim with well crafted, heavy classic rock songs, by a resurgent British band who are deserving of our support."