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FM (UK) - 1989 Tough It Out

ALBUM: Tough It Out
SERIAL: 465589 1 (LP), 465589 2 (CD)
YEAR: 1989
CD REISSUE: 2005, Bad Reputation (France), BAD 050801 * 2012, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY144


LINEUP: Steve Overland - vocals, guitars * Chris Overland - guitars * Didge Digital - keyboards * Merv Goldsworthy - bass * Pete Jupp - drums, percussion

TRACK LISTING: 01 Tough It Out * 02 Don't Stop * 03 Bad Luck * 04 Someday You'll Come Running * 05 Everytime I Think Of You * 06 Burning My Heart Down * 07 The Dream That Died * 08 Obsession * 09 Can You Hear Me Calling? * 10 Does It Feel Like Love * 11 Feels So Good


1986 was a watershed year for British melodic rockers FM. It marked the arrival of the band and their sensational debut 'Indiscreet', which for many readers that visit this site, remains a firm fixed favourite. Full of gorgeous songs, FM proved that British bands could compete with those coming out of the favoured North American scene. They paved the way for the likes of Dare and Strangeways to follow. Touring with many acts during this time, it took the band three years to progress through to their second album! Their label at the time (Portrait) was killed off by parent CBS, who then migrated all their roster to Epic. FM still kept in the public eye by making festival appearances. By the time they were ready to record (what would be) 'Tough It Out', Neil Kernon, fresh his exploits with Queensryche, would join the production team for 'Tough It Out', and thereby the instant appeal of 'Indiscreet' would be replaced for a harder edged version of AOR. Still loads of gorgeous songs, offset by some (err hmm) 'tougher' songs as well.

The Songs
Those songs that carry the true AOR appeal on this album are the ones where Didge Digital's keyboards are prominent. Included among them are the incredible pairing of 'The Dream That Died' and 'Can You Hear Me Calling?', complete with harmony vocals and crystal clear keyboard melodies. These two are followed closely by the trio of the ripsnorting 'Bad Luck', 'Someday' (which has been covered by many others in the AOR genre) and 'Everytime I Think Of You' showcasing the tremendous lead vocal of Steve Overland. When the band do 'tough it out', songs like 'Obsession' and 'Don't Stop' take the band in a new direction. A harder one, though melody is still prevalent. Chuck in the likes of the title track plus 'Burning My Heart Down' and you get an idea as to where FM would eventually go in terms of their musical direction.

In Summary
The band would be joined by two female fronted outfits during their 1989 tour run, including Americans Saraya and British melodic rockers Romeos Daughter, featuring Merv Goldsworthy's main squeeze - the lovely Leigh Matty. At the conclusion of their obligations for this album, lead guitarist Chris Overland left the band. He would be replaced by Andy Barnett, who would harden up the sound of the band even more by the time of their 1991 album 'Takin' It To The Streets'. However, for pure AOR bliss, 'Indiscreet' and 'Tough It Out' should be part of your collection without me having to annoy you otherwise.

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#1 | YNGWIEVIKING on June 15 2008 11:21:25
A CLASSIC and MY FAVORITE from them!musicmusicclap
#2 | citynights on August 12 2008 09:00:53
A classic in my book. Any song is a classic on this album it's that good! Can't believe why haters dislike this band and this album. Are they jealous? It looks like they are.

Anyway, I used to play 'Can you hear me calling?' and 'Does It Feel Like Love' at the night club (AOR Nights).
#3 | jeffrey343 on November 22 2013 06:25:00
Like "Indiscreet", this one never found its way to my ears when it came out. I was starting to get out of the loop by late 1989. I didn't have MTV, so I missed the two videos that came out (at least I found two on YouTube), and I never heard this on radio. A shame, because it was every bit as good as anything else being played at the time. And it's never made it to where I could grab it in digital form. I finally got the Rock Candy version last week, and it was well worth it.

There seems to be some debate amongst us which is better between this and "Indiscreet". They're definitely two different sounds. I will say I think I have a slight preference overall for this one, but it is very slight, and it is based on having them both for only one week. So it may change. This has the full production that I love, and it's a bit harder in general. It is, also, a more generic sound. Not that I'm complaining, but the Desmond Child influence is apparent throughout the album, even though he has only two co-write credits. Overland sounds more than a little like Michael Bolton in many places (again, not a bad thing). Some of the songs sound like what I'd expect to hear from Bolton, or Cher, or Bad English (apparently "Someday" was pitched to Bad English). But even if it is not quite as distinctive as "Indiscreet", I absolutely love this. Hard to pick a favorite, but "Obsession" is the kind of punchy song that really works for me.

The RC version doesn't have quite as many goodies as "Indiscreet" does, but there are some bonus tracks that are excellent.

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