OK. It’s no secret that FM are one of my all-time favourite bands. I have grown up listening to them and to my ears Steve Overland is one of the very best vocalists there is. FM are one of a small number of bands who formed in the 80's and are still regularly touring and releasing new material. I was lucky enough to talk to the band at length last year about Atomic Generation, their eleventh studio album. What came across was that they are certainly proud of this record, and so they should be.
The album starts with a bang. Black Magic is built on a huge riff and features a wonderful vocal from Steve Overland. It’s a close relative to Digging Up The Dirt, with its Bon Jovi style chorus and is sure to work well in the live set.
We are taken back to AOR territory with Golden Days, and also Too Much Of A Good Thing. Both are great tracks, with some phrases where Overland goes into his lovely high register, bringing to mind some of the vocals he delivered in the 80's. Terrific. Playing Tricks On Me is a more soul based track, with some tasty guitar licks. This song was originally written for another artist, but wasn’t used and is surely a contender for a Radio 2 record of the week.
Throughout the album the performances are stellar, with Jim's Kirkpatrick's guitars in particular adding punch, real melody and some wonderful solos. It’s also good to hear a little more of keyboard player Jem Davis throughout the record too - Stronger is a good example. It's epic FM, with a moody keyboard intro that leads into a chunky riff and some great backing vocals. And to top it all off, Merv Goldsworthy and Pete Jupp work like clockwork together providing the bass and drums which offer real groove at times (particularly obvious during In It For The Money which I love!)
Make The Best of What You Got is a typical FM mid paced rocker with bags of melody and groove and reminiscent of the Bad English song of the same name, whilst Do You Love Me Enough is a re-worked version of an early demo (also recorded by Overland side project, The Ladder). The album closes with acoustic ballad Love Is The Law showcasing Steve Overland’s incredible voice once again.
FM are arguably more popular now than they have ever been. I wonder if this record may just push them over the top, and into the consciousness of a new generation (atomic or not!). Classy.