Album Reviews
Band: FM

Title: Synchronized

Label: Frontiers Music Srl

 

I first heard of FM way back in 1989 during a Rock night out at Crocodillo's in Chester-Le Street, when the D.J. announced that FM were downstairs waiting to meet people as they had just finished a local gig and popped along for a quick visit.  Not knowing or caring who they were, I didn't bother and continued on with my night. Bellendism no.1.  Fast forward 2 years and I met the future Mrs. B at the brilliant Rock night in the Mayfair, and on one of our dates, she gave me one of those compilation tapes everyone does for their 'newie', and amongst the usual songs was this brilliant song that literally stopped me in my tracks as it spoke to me about what I'd gone through, and when I checked out the song and who the band were, I felt guilty as hell.  The song? 'Frozen Heart' by FM!!  Doh! Case of Bellendism no.2!!  

Since that revelation, I've never tired of that song, whether listening on CD or when I've seen the band live, which I have now on many of occasions, and have never been disappointed, so when they release a new album, it's almost like Mutley growling 'medal, medal medal', cos' we gotta get it in this household, so guess who got the 'medal' to review again?!

Yes, chaps n' chapesses, ME, and tell ya what, this band, since their 'comeback' in 2010, just get better and better with each album, and 'Synchronized' is up there with their best, kicking proceedings of with the title track that storms out on a really heavy-sounding riff, even for this lot, before it settles down into a quite funky/bluesy affair.  Mr. O's unmistakable vocals smearing it's lushness all over the song, and with the 'come on and join us' chorus, what's not to like about this opener!  'Superstar' simply sprints along on a wave of Jem Davis' atmospheric keys and happy-as-Larry drumming from the ever smiling Pete Jupp.  Both giving the track an all-round bigger feel to it, which feeds it's way into the jovial, foot-tapper 'Best Of Times', which I can guarantee, once this bleedin' virus is gone and we can get our arses back to live shows, will be one great crowd-pleaser! 

Taking things into the modern pop/rock scene via piano, a drum machine (of all things!) and synth, 'Ghost Of You And I' wouldn't be amiss in what is left of the Charts.  It's ballad-based style could be done by the likes of Lady A right through to Christina Aguilera, it has that sort of appeal surrounding it, but could the vocals be done any better than this?  I think not, as Steve nails it when it comes to the emotional tone that he inherits, and there is none better out there, simple as that.

'Broken' belongs to Pete on drums and Merv Goldsworthy on his meandering bass, they just combine together on this 80's vibed cracker to take the song down 'Happysville Road', such is fun aspect the song portrays as it bobs along, it's solo coming in to remind us it is still a rock song but with a smile in tow, as does 'Change For The Better', which actually sounds American for some strange reason.  The guitar work, for me, has hints of Don Henley's 'Boys Of Summer' in the mix, and I suppose using the line I've been driving down this highway' adds to that as well! Still, it's all got that feel-good factor we all love, ain't it!

'End Of Days' has such a huge arena sound to it, from the opening delayed guitar/massive drumbeat combo, there is no stopping this song from getting under your skin, and as Merv's rumbling bass and Jem's keys join the throng (!), the song takes on a new lease of life of almost Prog territory.  Steve's vocals absolutely soaring above it all for us to be blown away by, as no doubt we are as he skates through the bluesy/rocker 'Pray', it's jabbing riffage at the heart of this 'un, and ... and ... yes ... yes ... there it is ... the much loved tambourine! (I got a blue one!!). 

'Walk Through The Fire' has a pulsating, atmospheric feel that reminds you of Mr. Mister, mainly because of those keys that dominate the song from the off, though it does pick up and push on through during the powerful chorus and the rest of the verses, before returning to the rockier edge the band are so reliable for on the fist-pumper 'High Or High Water', where ... riff-check ... solid beat-check, chorus to get involved in-check ... well, there ya go ... enjoy! 

READ ALL ABOUT IT ... FM GO COUNTRY!! Yep pardner, Steve an' the boys put on their stetsons, raggy-arsed jeans and hit the slide 'geetar' and 'ol pianah to give us their best take on Country Western/Rock with 'Angels Cried', and why not?  Jeez bud, if it's good enough for Steve Tyler  to give it a whirl, (and do so well!), then why not FM? They do it without sounding 'twee' like some of the dumb-asses out there who jumped on the bandwagon 'cos it was cool to do', and that just goes to prove just how good this band is, and that's why this is one of the stand-out tracks on the album, 'simples'! 

The album comes to the close on the fabulous groover 'Ready For Me'.  THE quintessential sound of FM, pure Rock 'n Roll at it's best that we all deserve to have in our lives, and with this barnstormer of a song, we got it, dude!  Great way to finish!!!  I ask only of one thing now ... forgiveness from FM for past ignorance towards your band, because at my age ... I couldn't put up with a case of Bellendism no.3!!! 

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Synchronized
2.  Superstar
3.  Best Of Times
4.  Ghost Of You And I
5.  Broken
6.  Change For The Better
7.  End Of Days 
8.  Pray
9.  Walk Through The Fire
10. Hell Or High Water  
11. Angel's Cried
12. Read For Me

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