British hard rockers FM have been doing what they do, with varying degrees of success, for over thirty years now. Their new album, Atomic Generation, draws on every ounce of that experience to provide their legions of fans with exactly what they’ve come to expect from the band – classy, supremely well crafted hard rock straight out of the top draw.
Aside from the slinky Steve Miller/Santana hybrid Playing Tricks on Me, there are few surprises in store for anyone familiar with the FM brand on Atomic Generation. Steve Overland sings in the imperious manner to which we’ve become accustomed – he really has got one of the great British hard rock voices – and the rest of the band do what they do with polished finesse and a cheeky grin, right down to drummer Pete Jupp’s judicious use of cowbell on tracks like Make The Best of What You Got, which has a real whiff of fellow Brit rockers Thunder.
The band settle into their lazy, Bad Company-informed groove early on opening track Black Magic and, save for the aforementioned Playing Tricks… and the superb heaviness of Stronger don’t really deviate much thereafter. That’s not really a criticism – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it is a well-worn maxim for a reason – but just occasionally, whilst listening to straight ahead FM anthems like Killed By Love you do find yourself wishing the band would break out the satin dustcoats, if only for a little while, and head back to dish out some of the AOR extravagance of their superb 1986 Indiscreet debut.
That’s not going to happen, of course, so I, like the rest of the band’s thousand of fans, must just settle down and content myself with the fact that, in tracks like the excellent Follow Your Heart, FM are approaching the sort of form that made their 2013 album Rockville such a triumph.
Atomic Generation isn’t FM’s best, not by a long chalk, but few bands do ‘ok’ better than them. Great as always.
Atomic Generation will be released by Frontiers Music on March 30th