Rewind to 1986 and FM’s “Indiscreet” debut, an album now rightly regarded as a benchmark in British melodic rock. At the time, it seemed the UK had finally produced a band to beat the Americans at their own AOR-game; FM were destined to be huge. But they never were.
Sure, they persevered, releasing quality albums, but the seemingly inevitable big breakthrough never happened and the FM story was over by 1995.
Or, that’s how it might have been. The music may be soft rock but FM are hard men, and “Rockville” is the second instalment of a comeback that begun with 2010’s “Metropolis.” FM are operating in a business virtually unrecognisable from that of the eighties, but anyone writing their obituary has seriously jumped the gun.
If anything, FM are a better band now than they were back in the supposed golden era of melodic rock. Their style hasn’t altered drastically, with songs like ‘Crosstown Train’ still packed full of lush melodies and smooth as silk hooks, but some of the powder-puff eighties excesses have all but vanished – and we don’t just mean the mullet perms.
This is a band with a harder edge; a bit of grit; some dirt under its nails from long years of fighting their fight. Call it world-weariness if you like, but the passion and soul of ‘Wake Up The World’ is born not only of musical talent, but real emotion and like the rest of “Rockville,” it connects because it’s from the heart.
At a time when the melodic rock scene is dominated by one-off collaborations and high-profile projects, FM are a real band not only holding their own, but showing the way ahead.