Two classic AOR albums, where the band’s name sums up the sound perfectly.
Formed by the former Samson rhythm section of drummer Pete Jupp and bassist Merv Goldsworthy, a few line-up changes saw them settle with keyboard player Didge Digital and the former Wildlife pair Chris Overland on lead guitar and brother Steve on vocals and guitar. The 1986 debut (on CBS/Portrait) is polished AOR and its most radio friendly. Steve’s vocals have power and range,and a slight rasp, From the soaring opener ‘That Girl’ (written by founder Andy Barnet and later covered by Iron Maiden) to the powerful and melodically chunky ‘Belong To The Night’, the vocals stand out, the rhythms strong, and the keyboards and guitar swap leads and solos well. The smooth and polished production made this equal to (or better than) anything coming out of America at the time. ‘Frozen Heart’ made the charts too. From Toto, period Uriah Heep to Van Halen there’s a range of influences that make the album thoroughly enjoyable beginning to end. Between BBC Sessions, live tracks and non album singles and b-sides, the set is expanded to 2 discs.
1989’s ‘Tough It Out’ is just as good, the opening title track kicking off with solid riffs, intricate keyboards and powerful vocals and a rough edge that made it sound solid, hard rock while remaining ever so radio friendly. The album in general is slighter chunkier than the debut, but the are plenty of guitar and vocal harmonies to keep the polish. Five bonus tracks too!
FM by name, FM by nature, band interviews in the sleeve notes, excellent stuff. discrete – 8/10. Tough It Out – 7.5/10