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FM - 'Old Habits Die Hard'


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In short, this is a wonderfully crafted, beautifully played, and glorious piece of modern Melodic Rock

The godfathers of British Melodic Rock are back with album number fourteen, and as someone who has followed them since their debut back in 1986, I am pleased to report that they have never sounded better. The current five-piece line-up has been the same since 2008, resulting in consistently high standards, both on record and in a live environment.


A trademark of this band is their use of glorious choruses and harmonies, underpinned by Steve Overland’s superlative vocals. The musicianship is top notch throughout, with some of Jim Kirkpartick’s guitar playing on this album simply stunning. There are eleven tracks on offer (twelve if you include the bonus track included on the Japanese release), and not once does the quality drop.


Album opener ‘Out Of The Blue’ greets you like a long lost friend, with that wonderful vocal and familiar chorus you haven’t heard for a while. I detected a slight Doobie Brothers vibe to this song, which is also apparent on the following track ‘Don’t Need Another Heartache’. Then, on the excellent ‘Leap Of Faith’, they give a strong nod in the direction of their first two albums. ‘Cut Me Loose’ and ‘Whatever It Takes’ are both typical, modern-day FM, with those glorious melodies and outstanding vocals. ‘Blue Sky Mind’ is light and breezy, and would be perfect to listen to whilst cruising in your car on a warm summer’s day. The slightly funky ‘Lost’ is perhaps the heaviest track on the album, boasting some tasty guitar work from Kirkpatrick.


I won’t rank this album against previous releases, as everyone will have different opinions, but I feel it is a worthy and magnificent addition to the band’s catalogue. There are two tracks however, which are amongst the best they have ever recorded. Firstly, the atmospheric and slightly bluesy ‘Black Water’ has it all; it’s moody and dramatic, embellished with a blistering guitar solo and some wonderful keyboard playing from Jem Davis. Then ‘Another Day In My World’ showcases all that is fantastic about FM; it’s a powerful, mid-paced song with a world class vocal from Overland, and the most memorable chorus I’ve heard in years.


In short, this is a wonderfully crafted, beautifully played, and glorious piece of modern Melodic Rock, which, although this is only February, will be included in my top five albums of the year. Absolutely brilliant.


 

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