(Riff City Records) www.fmofficial.com
FM were the nearly-men of AOR in the mid- to late-1980s. The past few years has witnessed their comeback, attempting to make up for lost ground and the intervening years which have never been particularly kind to their brand of melodic rock, or anyone else’s for that matter.
Now, ahead of a full album release – ‘Rockville’ in March 2013 and a UK tour – we have a sampler EP with two new tracks. The new tracks – ‘Only Foolin’ and ‘Rainbow’s End’ are good but I can’t help thinking they hold the reasons why FM found life so frustrating 20-odd years ago as Grunge came to play.
Led by Steve Overland’s passionate vocals they lean more towards American AOR and radio-friendly Desmond Child territory (c.1987) than out and out rock. My guess is that the band are hardly likely to attract younger punters with this new album and a static – and ageing – demographic is not very healthy.
There is no doubt though that this nine-track EP gives value for money and also a fair representation of where they are at in 2012, with several live tracks including the excellent ‘Let Love Be The Leader’ (the Indiscreet-era non-album track) and ‘Tough it Out’.
But the other studio track ‘Shot In the Dark’ (which Ozzy made his own) almost gets a Las Vegas crooner treatment and I think this is a fine line that the band should steer well clear of.
However, the guys in FM know their core audience who will lap up this long-awaited new material and it sets the scene for some serious toe-tapping next spring. ****
Review by David Randall
David Randall presents ‘Assume The Position’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio every Sunday at 22:00 GMT.
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