FM has been doing this since 1986. OK, there was a bit of a hiatus in the middle there, but since they returned in 2007, perhaps because of the request to play live at the much-missed Melodic Rock gathering Firefest in Nottingham, they’ve been regularly releasing classy rock brilliance with Soul touches.
This is no different. There’s a bit of an unassuming feel to the FM constant excellence and so they don’t always get the plaudits they deserve – a bit like Thunder. They both should be shouted from the rooftops.
In this case, let me provide some evidence. Now then, opening with ‘Shake The Tree’, Steve Overland screaming and an almost Hair Metal riff segueing into 80’s synth parps with a swaggering chorus is just what we want to kick the doors in and to follow it with the AOR 80’s Pop nostalgia of ‘Waiting On Love’ shows FM’s audacity.
And why not? FM has, in Mr Overland, a vocalist with a voice that can slap and the caress, a voice that has never dipped in brilliance for 30+ years. Then add in Jem Davis (and check out his solo album, Beatles ‘Adventures In Pepperland’ under the Pepperkid 2 name) and his love of 80’s synth sounds, Jim Kirkpatrick with a classic rock bluesy six-string success and holding the backline down, Mervyn Goldsworthy and Pete Jupp.
A band like this is can do so much, from baby Whitesnake ‘Just Got Started’, via 80’s chart aspiration ‘Be Lucky’ to ‘Be True To Yourself’s one-note Toto piano, a touch of Soul and a massive guitar solo breaking into rough us up.
As Louder correctly pointed out in their review; ‘With more hooks than seems strictly fair…’, FM have melody lines that knock on the door, raid your fridge, and stay for a month. And you won’t mind.
‘Turn This Car Around’ has the sort of sumptuous sound which will make you do a U-Turn immediately, whilst the self-assured face front guitars in ‘Every Man Needs A Woman’ really break out and grab you by the lapels.
This at no time feels aged, played out, or warmed over, as Metal Planet Music said; ‘…the songs just have that sparkle and that verve that so many bands lack.’
Walk under as many ladders as you want, this superstitious album deserves all the luck it can get.
‘Thirteen’ is out now on Frontiers Records