FM – “Synchronized” (Frontiers Music)
Something of a supergroup when formed in 1984 when singer Steve Overland and his brother, guitarist Chris (both formerly of Wildlife) teamed up with drummer Pete Jupp (ex-Wildlife and Samson), bassist Merv Goldsworthy (ex-Diamond Head and Samson) and keyboardist Didge Digital, FM’s potential was quickly realized in a signing to CBS followed by a run of dates with Meat Loaf that year. Tours with Tina Turner, Foreigner, and Gary Moore followed after the release of their debut in 1986, culminating in the band supporting a white-hot Bon Jovi on their “Slippery When Wet” tour. Issuing follow up albums “Tough It Out” and “Takin’ It To The Streets” saw further touring with Status Quo and Whitesnake, and two more albums until “Dead Man’s Shoes” in 1995, when the band split up. However, some 12 years later, FM reunited for a ‘one-off’ headline performance at a sold-out Firefest IV at Nottingham Rock City. Since then, the rest is history with the band returning to full form, releasing 4 full length albums and a live recording, as well as touring with Foreigner, Journey, Thin Lizzy and Heart, and festival appearances including Download, Planet Rockstock, Sweden Rock, Graspop, Steelhouse Festival, Frontiers Rock Festival, HRH, HRH AOR, Cambridge Rock Festival, and in 2018 their first-ever live show in the US at Melodic Rock Fest 5! “Synchronized” is band’s 12th release, containing 12 wholesome melodic rock tracks that hold back nothing in bringing back all the passion and memories from the glory days, amply proving that this British melodic rock band still hold a premier place even today. And why would you doubt it listening to the likes of ‘Ghost Of You And I’, opening movingly through Jem Davis’s delicate piano and soothing keys, and led by Steve Overland’s soulful voice, the gentle guitars strum out, bringing graceful passion in abundance before breaking your heart through their wailing solos – man, it couldn’t be anymore perfect. Then there’s ‘Walk Through The Fire’ with its unashamed 80s synth sound (think “Miami Vice”) that took me right back to the arena days of the band, while the powerfully melodic chorus and backing harmonies whisk you off in utter bliss as if made for a hit video, steadily building the passion over the course of the song until a climax of squealing guitars and Overland’s passionate highs – wow. Slowing it right down to the slide guitar blues of ‘Angels Cried’, the moving piano and Overland’s heartfelt tones, while being melancholic as you might expect, are also strangely uplifting, especially when the gospel like chorus with its light backing harmonies really touches your soul – and shines a light of hope to radiate it immeasurably. And that’s what sets this fine band apart, and continually proves that even after a hiatus lasting a decade, FM are simply unforgettable.