FM – Synchronized (2020)
It’s now a whole decade since FM returned to stay with their comeback album ‘Metropolis’. Though from time to time they look back, re-recording ‘Indiscreet’ and most recently celebrating ‘Tough It Out’s anniversary on the ‘Big 3-0’ tour, their work rate in keeping up a steady stream of new releases is impressive.
This week Overland and Co. will present “Synchronized“, their new album for Frontiers Music.
The title track opens with some gloriously eighties keyboards from Jem Davis and is a lively up-tempo slice of melodic rock with a bit of a swing to it. ‘Superstar’ is catchy and breezy with its ‘just think about you’ secondary chorus and perhaps the latest of their singles that night attract attention from Radio 2. The solo from Jim Kirkpatrick is superb, fluent yet concise in a trademark style that recurs throughout the album.
However this is a more diverse album than its immediate predecessors ‘Heroes and Villains’ and ‘Atomic Generation’. It is never less than melodic, but draws inspiration from a broader palette of musical styles than pure AOR.
The looser, more rootsy vibe ‘ Best of Times’, boasting a wonderful Hammond organ intro, ballad ‘Ghosts Of You And I’ and ‘Broken’ and ‘Pray’, which verge on the eighties white soul of Hall and Oates and Go West, all make the most of Steve Overland’s peerless vocals, which I don’t think have ever sounded better.
‘End Of Days’ and ’Walk Through The Fire’ – the latter with some similarities to contemporaries Dare – are two of the more ambitious soundscapes FM have attempted and less instant than their usual work, but executed superbly.
‘Change For The Better’ is in safer fluffy AOR territory while ‘Hell Or High Water’ is a bit of filler. However the band take another chance and excel themselves with the six minute plus blues of ‘Angels Cried’, with some great slow slide guitar playing from Jim and Steve pouring heart and soul into his singing.
‘Ready For Me’ ends the album on a more conventional note, reflecting the band’s love of Bad Company, albeit with more modern production values, and a live anthem in the making.
The most impressive thing about this new album is the way FM have avoided becoming stale by stirring a few fresh ingredients into the musical pot without losing their trademark sound, continuing a remarkably consistent decade’s run of quality albums.
01 – Synchronized
02 – Superstar
03 – Best of Times
04 – Ghosts of You and I
05 – Broken
06 – Change for the Better
07 – End of Days
08 – Pray
09 – Walk Through the Fire
10 – Hell or High Water
11 – Angels Cried
12 – Ready for Me
Steve Overland – Vocals, Guitar
Jim Kirkpatrick – Guitars
Merv Goldsworthy – Bass
Pete Jupp – Drums
Jem Davis – Keyboards