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FM (UK) - 2010 Metropolis




ARTIST: FM (UK)
ALBUM: Metropolis
LABEL: Riff City Records
SERIAL: RCR2CD
YEAR: 2010

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Steve Overland - vocals * Jim Kirkpatrick - guitar * Merv Goldsworthy - bass * Pete Jupp - drums * Jem Davis - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Wildside * 02 Hollow * 03 Unbreakable * 04 Flamingo Road * 05 Metropolis * 06 Over You * 07 Days Gone By * 08 Bring Back Yesterday * 09 I Ain't The One * 10 Don't Need Nothin' * 11 The Extra Mile * 12 Who'll Stop The Rain * 13 Still The Fight Goes On

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.fmofficial.com


Background
As one of the U.K.'s most beloved AOR institutions it's been a long time between drinks for the band. Their last studio album was 1995's 'Dead Man's Shoes', released at the height of the anti- melodic rock era but happily nothings changed in the last 15 years as the band is still firmly AOR. The most recent addition to the lineup is Fitzpatrick, who joined the band in 2007 when they reformed and happily the nucleus of Overland, Goldsworthy and Jupp remains from the bands classic years. The band had a lot to live up to based on previous classics like 'Indiscreet' and 'Aphrodisiac,' but not to worry, this is one of their best efforts yet.


The Songs
Simply put this is a perfect exercise in AOR, right up there with Treat's recent gem. 'Wildside' opens with Overland's trademark vocals and some heavy riffs, The chorus is classic FM, distinctly British, with some stunning keyboard runs towards the end. FM have always had a hard rock edge, which is displayed on 'Flamingo Road' a handy anthem, real working man's stuff. The 80's are revisited on 'Over You', the type of dramatic AOR once thought long lost- just check out those guitar harmonies! More laid back is the introspective 'Days Gone By' and the Journey like 'Bring Back Yesterday,' both tracks which have a modern flavour, but still retain the necessary melody of yesteryear. The upbeat rocker 'Don't Need Nothin' lays down some horns for swagger and swank, a real good time track. For epic AOR look no further than 'Who'll Stop The Rain,' a track straight from 1989 surely. This might go down as one of the songs of the year, such is the purity. The seven minute 'Still The Fight Goes On' is an apt closer, summing up where these guys are at, still providing exceptional music like this some quarter of a century since their début.


In Summary
'Metropolis' has been hailed by every melodic rock outlet since its release and with total justification. The band sensibly stuck to their strengths and didn't try anything radical or new, yet still manage to sound contemporary with their brand of AOR. I can't recommend this more, it's one of the best releases so far in an unusually above average year for melodic rock. A real triumph for the veterans.


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Comments

#1 | Jez on November 04 2010 02:50:59
I must admit that this has really got alot better each subsequent spin and for me there are only a couple of fillers on here and even those aren't too bad. The blues keeps being mentinoned alot around this release and although this does have a bluesy element to the sound say ala Bad Co.(always a bands name that crops up with latter day FM stuff), it isn't outright blues at all on any track, so don't let that word put you off. OK, what does it sound like? well, It's a mix of the old'ish sound ala 'Aphrodesiac', with maybe a couple of tracks that harken back to the good old days, but without the lush productionn.

A quick break down of the songs if I may:

1. Wildside - Really quite like this. Had it on the EP. for a few months, so have gotten very used to it. Good groove, slightly tougher sound for FM, but a good one. I like the break, followed by a return to the main riff at the end. Good song

2. Hollow - Good tune and one of the albums stronger tracks, Good verse and excellent chorus. Love Steve's vocal on here

3. Unbreakable - Nothing outstanding, but I really like the chorus on this taht always sticks in your head after each spin. A standard, well written FM song, without being mindblowing

4. Flamingo Road - The first weak link, although it certainly isn't terrible, I am inclined to use the 'Filler' word but only just.

5. Metropolis - A short 1.30 intro that segues into 'Over You'. Nice keys, atmospheric bluesy guitar = good.

6. Over You - Nice punchy song and very good chorus

7. Days Gone By - Good solid FM ballad - Great Vocal.

8. Bring Back Yesterday - Excellent mid tempo song and an album highlight. Great chorus on this one

9. I Ain't The One - VERY 'Reckless' era Bryan Adams on the main riff and chorus, atmospheric keys and more of the AOR of the mid period FM. Great song and another album highlight.

10. Don't Need Nothin' - Pretty average FM this one. Not bad, but nothing that really stands out.

11. The Extra Mile - Quite like this one, slow and bluesy with a nice chorus and good solo. Good Overland vocal again.

12. Who'll Stop The Rain - Great song and probably the third best on the album. Again more AOR'ish than some of the others, but it has a great chorus

13. Still The Fight Goes On - Nice slow burning ballad. Maybe a little long at over 7 minutes, but a good finish to the album

So I make that 2 fillers out of 13 tracks, with maybe a couple of others not exactly setting the pulse racing too much, but over the course of a nearly 70 minute disc, I'd say that's good value. As I said, this has got stronger and stronger on each subsequent spins and I am really liking this alot, much much better in fact than the last few FM releases like 'Dead Mans Shoes', 'Paraphernalia' and some of 'Aphrodisiac and 'Taking It To The Streets'. It has a good, beefy production, without making it too 'sweet and smooth' which suits the present FM sound very well and I will keep on saying it, but Steve Overland really is one of the best vocalists this country has ever produced period
#2 | jeffrey343 on November 19 2010 22:30:41
Sometimes you just gotta be in the right frame of mind to appreciate certain albums... I listened to this a couple of times earlier on Rhapsody and thought it was OK but not quite as good as some of the other releases this year. I haven't heard any of the older FM stuff, so I was not necessarily predisposed to like this. But upon a closer listen today... wow. Like Jez said, the Bad Company similarities are definitely there, along with Bryan Adams (like he said for "I Ain't The One" - I thought the exact same thing before I saw that comment!), and I think "The Extra Mile" has an Eagles vibe. I'm paying the $9 to buy this so I can play it in the car. I'm quite confident this has permanently leaped past several other excellent 2010 releases. My bad for taking this long to really appreciate this, as it should have been more immediate for me.

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