Album review: FM – Atomic Generation

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio’s David Randall chatted to Steve Overland about FM and the new album for his weekly show, first broadcast 4 March 2018. This hour special includes tracks from ‘Atomic Generation’.

There is a non-broadcast interview edit available via our news item, published ahead of the album release and radio feature.  More…

FM - Atomic Generation

Frontiers [Release date 30.03.18]

The 2010’s have seen a reformed FM provide consistently high quality product. Indeed 2015’s ‘Heroes and Villains’ was GRTR!’s album of the year, and after re-recording debut album ‘Indiscreet’, they are back with a fresh set of originals.

‘Black Magic’ starts the album in uptempo fashion, complete with catchy ‘who-oahs’, even if there is a bit too much going on including a funky mid-section groove, while the next two songs are among the closest the band have come to their AOR roots since the debut – ‘Too Much Of A Good Thing’ has the lush, soulful voice of Steve Overland at its finest, complete with backing vocals, while ‘Killed By Love’ has some classic late eighties hooks on the chorus and sweet but concise solos from the ever tasteful Jim Kirkpatrick

‘In For The Kill’ has a slightly beefier groove while ‘Golden Days’, mining a nostalgic lyrical theme they have used on more than one occasion, is graced by a blissfully melodic chorus, big backing vocals and a rich sound.

FM have never been above a bit of musical magpieship and the chorus of the sunny ‘Make The Best of What You Got’ is rather too obviously influenced by Bad English’s near namesake, with some Bryan Adams also in the mix, while recent touring activity with Foreigner seems to have had a musical influence on the intro to ‘Follow Your Head’ where another catchy chorus is followed by an outro in which Jem Davis’ synth and Jim’s guitar solos do battle, and again on ‘Stronger’ which kicks in on a fine keyboard intro from Jem, unleashing his inner Jon Lord.

‘Do You Love Me Enough’ is a remake from the days of The Ladder, whose 2004 album was at the time the closest us fans thought we would get to an FM reunion, and is a semi-ballad with prominent piano and an orchestrated feel that was well worth exhuming from obscurity.

But the band’s utter confidence in their own skin has led them to branch out into a few fresh musical directions – ‘Playing Tricks On Me’ boasts horns and has a soulful vibe somewhere between Santana’s ‘Smooth’ and (gulp) The Style Council and ‘Love Is The Law’, a stripped back ballad with acoustic guitar and country-style picking, concludes another top album from the undoubted British standard bearers of melodic rock.

Best of all, while this music is often an instant fix, with each repeated listening it edges closer to being my favourite of FM’s post-reformation albums.  *****

Review by Andy Nathan

The Best of 2018


David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 September 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 22 September 2020.


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