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Joe Bonamassa ROYAL TEA.jpg

FM first started out way back in 1984, adopting the American AOR influences of the likes of Foreigner and Journey. This proved a battle as the UK was fired up on NWOBHM bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard etc. at the time, but they did gradually build their fan base on major support slots with the likes of Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and Status Quo, to name a few.

They recorded their final album ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’ in 1995 and it wasn’t until 2007 that the band was persuaded to reform for a one-off show at Nottingham’s Rock City as part of the ‘Firefest’. That show was enough for the band to re-emerge, and a comeback album ‘Metropolis’ was released in 2010. Now in 2020, the band release their 12thalbum ‘Sychronized’ this Friday 22ndMay, with three original members still in place, namely Steve Overland (vocals/guitar), Merv Goldsworthy (bass) and Pete Jupp (drums).

With Jem Davis on keyboards, who joined back in 1995, and Bernie Marsden’s sidekick Jim Kirkpatrick on guitar since 2010, it appears second time around is proving worthwhile, as the band is now headlining their own tours in the UK and Europe to full houses.

And so on to the new album, and its title track, a mid-paced radio friendly opener with guitar riffing similar to the 80’s vibe used by a certain MJ on his hit ‘Beat It’, that aptly guides us to the next track, ‘Superstar’, upping the gear a little more this side of the Atlantic with some exceptional soloing from Mr. Kirkpatrick.

’Best Of Times’ has a kind of New Country Rock feel about it, which gives space to hear the vocal strength that Overland possesses in abundance, while 'Ghosts Of Me And I’ is a Rock ballad that again wouldn’t be out of water in the USA’s mid-west. Although, ’Broken’ brings us right back into AOR melodic heaven, given its hooky chorus with guitars and keyboard crossings.

’Change For The better’ is a smooth rocker with a feel good vibe, that takes us to the more heavier, and my second favourite tune off this twelve song collective, ‘End Of Days’. ’Pray’, a guitar laden groover, provides good back-up to the previous song, following it up with the lighter ‘Walk Through The Fire’, in true keyboard dominated style, such as that successfully employed by Mr. Mister way back when!

’Hell Or High Water’ takes a more Rock and Roll/boogie stroll along the feel good factor highway, although in contrast, track eleven, the massive ‘Angels Cried’ is, in my opinion, the top tune from ‘Synchronized’, and is a classy Blues based ballad, that ticks all the right boxes from all members of the band. And last, but not least, ‘Ready For Me’ closes out the album in true FM style.

Because of Covid-19, their tour coinciding with the release of the new album will now be rescheduled, although, at the time of writing, it is hoped that their appearance at Monsterfest in Inverness during the weekend of 12th-15thNovember will go ahead.

Geoff C.

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