FM (UK) - 2013 Rockville II


ALBUM: Rockville II
LABEL: Riff City Records/Membran
SERIAL: 233729
YEAR: 2013


LINEUP: Steve Overland - lead vocals * Jim Kirkpatrick - guitar * Merv Goldsworthy - bass * Jem Davis - keyboards * Pete Jupp - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 High * 02 Bad Addiction * 03 Guilty * 04 Desolation Station * 05 Runaway Train * 06 Living For The Weekend * 07 Forever And A Day * 08 Paradise Highway * 09 Brother Take Me Home * 10 Last Chance Saloon

RATING: image



FM set out to record album number seven in 2012, funded by a PledgeMusic campaign. Inspiration must have been running high in their camp, as they wrote enough songs for a second full-length album.

The first one was called 'Rockville', and they simply went with Rockville II for the second one.

I have not found any info on how they determined the distribution of songs between the two albums - whether they put what they considered to be the stronger songs on the first one, or they tried to make them more even.

But what is impressive is that they did have enough quality material for two full albums (although Rockville II is slightly shorter). Both albums came out in March - 'Rockville' on March 11 and 'Rockville II' on March 25.

The Songs

I believe the first album has the slightly stronger songs overall, with two notable exceptions. But the difference is slight - like saying an Olympic silver medalist is not as good as the gold medalist.

The songs on this one are lightly more subdued in general, more of a bluesy or country rock sound in places.

The first exception is 'Bad Addiction'. I don't know how this had gone unwritten for 30+ years. It has that British sound from the 70's/early 80's nailed perfectly. Great guitar riff, with keyboards adding more energy, leading to a killer chorus and great guitar solo. Love it.

'Desolation Station' is an almost two-minute instrumental interlude leading to the next killer track, 'Runaway Train'. This one definitely sounds more modern, and it is the hardest one on here. I can guess why it didn't make the first album - they already had a train song in 'Crosstown Train'.

Opener 'High' was on the 'Brass Monkey' album from the late 90's with Steve Overland and Pete Jupp. I pretty much consider anything post-1992 to sound 'modern', and even being 15 years old, this one sounds modern to me, but not at all out of place among the songs on the two albums.

'Guilty', 'Living For The Weekend', and 'Paradise Highway' are fun & upbeat songs.

'Forever And A Day' is an easygoing affair and the closest to a ballad on here.

'Brother Take Me Home' definitely has a 70's vibe to me, like a Jackson Browne sound. The guitar solo is very similar in style to that on 'Bring Back Yesterday' from the 'Metropolis album', very nicely done.

The album ends with an Eagles-flavoured tune, 'Last Chance Saloon'.

In Summary

One might be inclined to believe this second album would be nothing more than a couple of tracks that didn't make the first album, plus some extended versions, demos, and live tracks.

Not the case - they could have very easily sat on these songs for another year, added one or two more rockers, and had another great album.

'Rockville' contains a slightly more modern set of songs, while this one veers a little more south of the early 80's for the most part. As is the case with 'Rockville', this won't scratch the itch for those who want another 'Indiscreet' or 'Tough It Out'.

But if you enjoyed 'Metropolis', and you like your AOR served with some rhythm & blues and a touch of country, you should enjoy this. I sure do.

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