FM band photo

FM – Rockville II

FM Rockville IIAre FM trying to pull a Guns N Roses on us? I am, of course, talking about when they released Use Your Illusion 1 & 2 on the same day. Back then, in 1991, we still had vinyl records so they actually released two double albums on the same day. How’s that for an overkill? Those records were very uneven and it felt like they just wanted to get every song they ever wrote out. The case with FM is somewhat different, though. Their Rockville records were released with a couple of weeks apart (yes, I know they were both released in March but to my defense, I just didn’t know that they had recorded a sequel. That’s why this review is a bit late…), but still you get the feeling that when you release a sequel this close, it will contain leftovers – the stuff that wasn’t good enough for the first record and those albums are almost never equally as good as the first one. But it turned out that wasn’t the case with this album at all. In fact, it seems like FM had written so many good songs that it would be stupid not to release them!  Still, the first Rockville album was so damn good that it doesn’t feel like the sequel could be an equal. But lo and behold it is! The thing is, if you liked and bought the first one, you might as well do the same with this one because it’s just a continuation of the first one and just as good. If you liked the first one and not this one, you may suffer from some kind of schizophrenia.

The album kicks off with “High”, an acoustic based rocker – very catchy and so brilliant, “Bad Addiction” is just so awesome – it’s a groovy and catchy AOR rocker where I hear some influences from old soul. I also hear a hit – if the world was a fair place. “Guilty” is a fantastic pop-rocker that takes me back to the Tough It Out album, “Runaway Train” has some breath-taking verses, really, really good ones – a little more dark and heavy, but unfortunately the chorus fails a bit, but the song is still very good and the soul influences comes back on “Paradise Highway”, a pop song so catchy it’s ridiculous. The pop rocker “Brother Take Me Home” is stunning and has a big time hit feel all over it and “Last Chance Saloon”, a brilliant, soulful and poppy half ballad finishes the album, leaving the listener wanting more. The production is clean and slick, but still has some kind of raunchiness to it and it is also mastered comfortably – really nice to hear an album that seems to be mastered for CD and / or vinyl and not only for mp3 downloads.

When FM first started out they made some really good stuff like Indiscreet and Tough It Out, but unfortunately many of their earlier albums were too uneven to make a big impact, at least on me, despite being great musicians. So it’s really cool to state that FM today are a bunch of middle-aged men, but better than ever. Also, Steve Overland still holds a voice that sounds like a rockier Michael Bolton – only Bolton would give his left nut for that voice. Many singers lose much of their strength as they grow older, but Overland seems to have gone the other way and sounds stronger instead. The great music and musicianship combined with the guys’ looser attitude towards the whole music biz today, might just make them bigger than they were the first time around, God knows they deserve it.

Jon Wilmenius (8/10)

Tracklist:

1. High
2. Bad Addiction
3. Guilty
4. Desolation Station
5. Runaway Train
6. Living For The Weekend
7. Forever And A Day
8. Paradise Highway
9. Brother Take Me Home
10. Last Chance Saloon

3 comments on “FM – Rockville II

  1. Jon,I think the reason Guns released 2 albums back in 91 looking back it now was a marketing decision(biggest band at the time) and after the whole Adler Civil War drum tracking problem and the LA Rolling Stones opening fiasco where Axl called out a few members..the record company probably figured to cash in and cash it hard as they knew it was a time bomb act they were working with!

  2. You’re probably right. But it was still overkill de luxe. So much crap on those records. Two single records would have been more than enuff.

  3. Yeah or one solid cd worth of music but yeah there is some filler on both for sure…this FM band vid for Bad Addiction is pretty good…..vibe reminds me of Thunder somewhat….

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