FM – Tough It Out Live

Tough It Out Live Album Cover Art

FM – Tough It Out Live
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 113:00
Review by Simon Black
8/10

You know, I am lucky enough to get to review a lot of albums from new bands that missed out on the 80’s but try not to let it show. I spend a lot of time making comparisons to what came out at the time, whilst forgetting how different it was on the ears back then. A rich production sound was a dream for most bands, so consequently live recordings really had a lot of power, as the band frequently got to make their true intentions audible and clear in a way that couldn’t be done in the studio without the support of a major label. FM were amongst the lucky ones back then and often had a rich and lustrous polish in their mix that many other bands envied, thanks to the support of label Epic. None more so than 1989’s ‘Tough It Out’, which is probably the album and song the band are most well-known for, fortunately firmly establishing them in the Melodic Hard Rock market before Grunge came along and upset the apple cart.

So, this release is interesting for a number of reasons – firstly in that this is in fact the first time the band have played the full album in its entirety but mostly because they’ve done a superb job in recapturing the original studio sound on this live recording. Recorded over a couple of UK and German shows in 2019, this is a double disk set with the full studio running order retained for the first disk, plus a full second disk of classics and rarities. At the time I was not so fond of AOR, and let’s face it, they don’t come much more ‘classic’ AOR than FM – whether you like those tinkling insipid 80’s keyboard melodies from the likes of ‘Everytime I Think Of You’ or not. Despite the fact that a fair few of these tracks were firmly in the ‘filler’ category back in the day, they come off surprisingly well live, mainly due to the fact that the band’s delivery is tight, focussed and absolutely held up to the rafters by the support of a crowd who are clearly loving every minute of it – and tracks like ‘Burning My Heart Down’ in particular sound spectacular with the interaction of the audience.

The second disk is more eclectic, with quite a few tracks I am not familiar with, but clearly with a hard core following in the audience this is not slowing them down in the slightest. And I defy anyone not to boogie along to the cracking rendition of Marvin Gaye’s ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine‘ Steve Overland’s voice sounds remarkably good after all these years and although the recording skips much of the banter with the audience, you still get a sense of the immediacy of his contact with the crowd. For fans of the original album, this is probably a must, but for anyone looking for a good introduction to a band that can still deliver the goods after very long time then you can do much worse than this.

‘Tough It Out’ Live (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:

CD1
01. Intro
02. Tough It Out
03. Don’t Stop
04. Bad Luck
05. Someday (You’ll Come Running)
06. Everytime I Think Of You
07. Burning My Heart Down
08. The Dream That Died
09. Obsession
10. Can You Hear Me Calling?
11. Does It Feel Like Love
12. Feels So Good

CD2
01. Digging Up The Dirt
02. Tough Love
03. Hollow
04. Dangerous
05. Hard Day In Hell
06. Wildside
07. Breathe Fire
08. Only The Strong Survive
09. Blood And Gasoline
10. I Ain’t The One
11. I Heard It Through The Grapevine

LINE-UP:
Steve Overland – Vocals & Guitar
Merv Goldsworthy – Bass
Pete Jupp – Drums
Jem Davis – Keyboards
Jim Kirkpatrick – Guitar

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

FM – Indiscreet 30

Indiscreet 30 Cover

FM – Indiscreet 30
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date:  04/11/2016
Running Time: 1.20:24
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

I must admit when I agreed to do this album review I had no idea that it was re-recording of a previously released album. Being far too young (!!) to have experienced most of the bands from the 80’s first time round, I have had to rely on other people introducing me to bands and finding them on YouTube. And the more bands I discover the more I believe that I was born much too late as I really would have been in my element in the 80’s.

Indiscreet 30 is a total re-recording of FM’s debut album, funnily enough also called Indiscreet, using today’s technology and recording techniques that has given the album a new power and dynamic that was not possible to achieve in the 1980’s.

But let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

FM were formed in the summer of 1984 (see, I was only 7 then!) with the ex-Samson pairing of bassist Merv Goldsworthy and drummer Pete Jupp, the Overland brothers – vocalist/guitarist Steve and lead guitarist Chris (both formerly of Wildfire) and keyboardist Phili Manchester.

By the end of 1985, they had released their debut album Indiscreet and had hit the road in Europe, supporting Tina Turner, Foreigner, Gary Moore, Status Quo and Magnum and had also opened for REO Speedwagon at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. At the end of the year they accepted a spot with Bon Jovi, supporting them on the UK leg of their Slippery When Wet tour.

To date the band have recorded nine studio albums, three of which, Indiscreet, Tough It Out and Heroes and Villians, reached the UK album chart while 5 of the band’s singles also made inroads into the UK singles chart.

But the band split up in 1995.

On 27th October 2007, however, the band played together for the first time in 12 years when they headlined the sold out Firefest at Nottingham’s Rock City, and due to the reaction the band received, they decided to make the reunion a permanent one.

Just like any long running band there have been a few line-up changes over the years but three original members in Steve Overland, Merv Goldsworthy and Pete Jupp remain and are now joined by Jem Davies on keyboards and Jim Kirkpatrick on lead guitar, giving the band a younger perspective.

So what made them decide to re-record such a classic album? Obviously such a hit with the fans, and regarded by some as one of the best AOR albums of the 1980’s, it could be considered somewhat risky to re-record the entire thing. The band had previously been approached to re-record one or two of the songs and it was after they were recording the follow up to Heroes and Villains that they decided to put down a backing track to That Girl to see how it would sound with the huge sounds they were now achieving. The rest, as they say, is history.

Says bassist Merv Goldsworthy “we are not trying to recreate the original but this is our interpretation played by FM as we are today.”

Produced by FM themselves, recorded at Tremolo Studios and Coal House Studios in Staffordshire and mixed by Jeff Knowler (who also mixed albums Metropolis, Rockville and Heroes and Villians) Indiscreet 30 is not only a re make of the original album but also includes seven bonus tracks including a brand new track “Running on Empty.”

I can’t say I have listened to the original album so for me to make a direct comparison between the two would be both unprofessional and dishonest of me but I have taken a peek at some of FM’s earlier stuff on YouTube and one comparison I CAN make is about the voice of Steve Overland, which is still as fab now as it was back then.

Not many singers can maintain their standard of vocals the older they get but Steve has managed to do just that. I’m not sure if he trains his voice or whether he is just one of the lucky ones but he sounds as good now at the age of 56 as he did at the age of 24!

There is nothing to dislike about this album. The guitar work is faultless, the keyboards are a prominent feature of the sound and the percussion section keep everything tight and neat. Backing vocals are pitch perfect and harmonize well with Steve’s lead vocals, and the production is fantastic. There is a good mix of rocky songs and ballads as well as an acoustic version of That Girl, and this album will definitely have you dancing around your living room. I am listening to it while I write this review, it now being on its third or fourth time round, and I haven’t once got bored with it. There is something new to notice every time it’s played and this shows to me there are many layers to the songs and the tracks are not one dimensional.

AOR was not really a genre of rock and metal that I have paid particular attention to over the years but having reviewed the likes of FM, Nightranger and Tyketto in the last few weeks, maybe I should go and check a few more bands out.

That’s one of the great things about listening to rock and metal music. There are so many different genres out there that one week you could be headbanging to thrash metal and the next you could be bopping along to AOR.

I, for one, wouldn’t have it any other way!!

TRACKLISTING:
1. That Girl
2. Other Side Of Midnight
3. Love Lies Dying
4. I Belong To The Night
5. American Girls
6. Hotwired
7. Face To Face
8. Frozen Heart
9. Heart Of The Matter
10. Let Love Be The Leader (*)
11. Running On Empty (*)
12. Rainbow’s End (*)
13. Shot In The Dark (*)
14. Bad That’s Good In You (*)
15. Love & Hate (*)
16. That Girl (Acoustic Version) (*)
(*) bonus tracks

LINE-UP:
Steve Overland – Vocals, Guitar
Jim Kirkpatrick – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jem Davis – Keyboard
Merv Goldsworthy – Bass, Backing Vocals
Pete Jupp – Drums, Backing Vocals

LINKS:

Promo Pic 2014

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.