Although Futurama is classed as an EP it is in fact made up of 4 brand new songs, 6 live numbers and an extended mix of one of the new songs and is a fine example of prime AOR. Futurama is currently available via Membran in the UK and the rest of Europe and kicks off with the title track, the 1st of the 4 new ones. It is a short instrumental beginning with a swathe of keyboards which are joined by some piercing guitar lines from Jim Kirkpatrick giving Joe Satriani a run for his money. The huge backing riff is the icing on the cake. ‘Cold Hearted’ begins with a lone vocal of “Shout it out, spread the word, stop this thing that we started” highlighting the rich tone in Steve Overland’s voice, 1 of the original members of FM since their beginnings in 1984. A lazy guitar riff flows along side a jarring lead as the drums crash in thus beefing the song right up as a blistering but measured guitar solo cuts like a knife.
‘Bad Thats Good In You’ is the highlight of the new songs and has radio airplay written all over it. The intro reminded me a bit of ‘Wild Hearted Son’ by The Cult and as the main riff kicks in it shows FM’s penchant for penning songs full of melody and muscle. It has an instantly memorable chorus that will have you singing along to without fail. ‘Preying On Your Mind’, the final new song adds another classic ballad to their repertoire with a haunting, heartfelt vocal with almost Spanish style guitar lines weaving around the prominent synths.
So now to the live tracks which highlight the consistency of Steve Overland’s voice and the musical dexterity of the band. The guitar intro to opening track ‘Tough Love’ has always brought to mind ‘Urgent’ by Foreigner which is no bad thing. When the rest of FM crash in it shows their harder edge with Steve delivering a powerful vocal. The stabbing guitar riffs of ‘All Or Nothing’ compliment the lush keyboards with a huge chorus highlighting the trademark strong backing vocals in FM. ‘Closer To Heaven’ is a power ballad to end all power ballads driven by Steve’s striding, soulful vocal with a piercing guitar solo midway. ‘Crosstown Train’ is uptempo AOR with chunky power chords preceding yet another huge memorable chorus.
‘Story Of My Life’ is a vocal tour de force with melodies that could melt the coldest of hearts. When they played this in Crewe last December the crowd was practically stunned to silence but the room erupted at the end of the song. An unforgettable moment! Final live track ‘Breathe Fire’ ends the live sement of Futurama with a guitar heavy slab of hard rock. Final EP track is an extended mix of 2nd track ‘Cold Hearted’, a fine way to end a stunning collection of new and old songs.
2014 looks to be a busy year for FM. They have just toured with Europe and Foreigner followed by headline shows in Portugal, Spain, Holland and Germany in April and May. FM return to the live setting in the UK when they headline the Cambridge Rock Festival on Aug. 9th and with an extensive UK tour in November to celebrate their 40th anniversary! They should be some very emotional shows.
FM band line up :-
Steve Overland – Lead vocals/guitars.
Merv Goldsworthy – Bass guitar.
Pete Jupp – Drums.
Jem Davis – Keyboards.
Jim Kirkpatrick – Lead guitar.
Futurama EP track listing :-
Bad Thats Good In You.
Preying On Your Mind.
Tough Love (live).
All Or Nothing (live).
Closer To Heaven (live).
Crosstown Train (live).
Story Of My Life (live).
Breathe Fire (live).
Cold Hearted (extended mix).