April 3, 2022

I would imagine that it is doubtful that there is anyone out there who is not aware of the great British melodic rock institution that is FM? For those not in the know then FM is one of the few British melodic rock bands that can stand comfortably alongside the American giants of the genre as the musicians in the band have consistently released high quality AOR albums throughout their illustrious career.

The band was formed way back in 1984 by Merv Goldsworthy and Pete Jupp (with both being former members of NWOBH band Samson), the Overland brothers from Wildlife and Philip Manchester (aka Didge Digital) of the new wave band The Invaders. FM hit the ground running with Indiscreet which came out in 1986 which showed a band with big ideals and even bigger skills levels with which to back it all up. This was the time when stadium rock ruled and FM most certainly ticked all of the boxes with their smooth tones but they also had that British rock sensibility that meant they could rock big time too. Further quality albums enhanced the bands reputation but sadly the band called it a day in 1995 and it was not until 2007 that they got back together again for what was supposed to be a one-off performance at Firefest IV in Nottingham but such was their reception that they have been together ever since. The highly polished Metropolis which came out in 2010 was the band’s mighty fine comeback album which then began a long line of classic rock albums which now culminates with the bands 13th album so what better to call it than Thirteen?

There have been a fair number of changes in the line-up over the years so we now have Steve Overland on vocals and guitar, Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar, Merv Goldsworthy on bass, Pete Jupp on drums and Jem Davis on keyboards so they still have three original members in the ranks with Overland, Goldsworthy and Jupp. Indeed Davis and Kirkpatrick go back to 2007 and 2008 respectively so the current team has been together now for fourteen years and have produced all of the incredibly strong albums following the 2007 come back; continuity definitely helps a band grow and develop whilst retaining the core sound and values.

The band seems to produce highly polished and well crafted AOR songs just so easily with Steve Overland again showing that he is at the forefront of British rock vocalists with his smooth, warm and refined voice and he truly does give the band that extra special quality that allows them to stand out from the crowd. The band perfectly mixes ballads with rockier numbers and they are so adept at writing killer songs that are full of class, style and delivered with so much precision and perfection. I guess the nearest comparison to their imperious soulful rock would be Foreigner with both being essential bands at the pinnacle of AOR.

If you know the band of old then you will already be getting down to the songs on this album but if you are looking for something new in melodic rock then please start your education here but I have to wonder where have you been all this time? Watch out for the band now on tour and if they are coming close to you then make time to see this essential veteran British band.

Thirteen

  1. Shaking The Tree (5:22)
  2. Waiting On Love (4:51)
  3. Talk Is Cheap (3:45)
  4. Turn This Car Around (4:43)
  5. Love And War (5:13)
  6. Long Road Home (5:56)
  7. Be Lucky (5:22)
  8. Every Man Needs A Woman (4:01)
  9. Just Got Started (4:39)
  10. Fight Fire With Fire (5:26)
  11. Be True To Yourself (4:32)