I doubt anyone would have imagined the strength of FM's comeback. Whipping up a frenzy at the Firefest in 2007 and impressing many with the 'Metropolis' opus in 2010, now the boys are back with not one but two albums with 'Rockville' and 'Rockville II'.
Now to be honest, they could do with a strong marketing manager. Guns 'N Roses used their illusion back in 1991 by releasing two albums simultaneously on the same day, but the music climate was a totally different one back then.
To their credit FM were only going to release the one with 'Rockville II' being held back for the fans only but when the music is so strong it demands a proper release.
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With a top notch production from the boys themselves, 'Rockville' is an album full of well crafted polished tunes and is their best piece of work since their debut 'Indiscreet' back in 86. Whilst their second, 'Tough It Out', may have had a few better tunes, 'Rockville' is more fulfilling from beginning to end.
Opener 'Tough Love' packs the right clout with the sublime soulful voice of Steve Overland and harmonic backing vocals from the rest of the gang. The sound is distinctively FM.
Beauties such as 'Wake Up The World', 'Only Foolin', 'Crave' and 'Show Me The Way' are smoother that a pin up models backside with the right amount of oil to rub in for the perfect sensual massage whilst 'Crosstown Train' has FM rocking out harder than before without the danger of derailing.
Now one would automatically think that 'Rockville II' isn't worth a look in unless you're a FM anorak. However this release originally made for the Pledge funders is full of surprises.
Opening with 'High', a track first recorded by Overland and Jupp for their Brass Monkey project is a warming choice. 'Bad Addiction' and 'Guilty' and 'Runaway Train' all cut the cloth whilst 'Last Chance Saloon' has a Bruce Springsteen/Jovi edge to it yet remaining quintessentially British with spurs on.
With the strength of so many great song on these two releases I must say how surprised I was by how little new material FM played on their recent UK tour last month especially when they said last year on the 'Indiscreet 25 Tour' was a glorified nostalgia trip. On this showing, more live dates please.