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OVERLAND Diamond Dealer Escape Records (2009)


To his status as one of Britain's best ever, and certainly most underrated, singers, FM's Steve Overland seems to be adding another accolade, that of the busiest voice in rock. Since the announcement in Spring 2007 that FM were reforming, by my reckoning this is the fourth after releases from the Ladder, Overland, and Shadowman.

For his second 'solo' album he has assembled an entirely different cast of backing musicians, all Scandinavian but none known to me, but including guitarists Martin Kronlund, who produces and Tor Talle, who co-writes the songs. If, like me, you think FM's 'Indiscreet' debut has never been bettered, the good news is that this album sees Steve Overland as close as he will ever get to pure AOR. Train Train gets things off to a good start, with his trademark warble in soulful form, while Where is the Love, underpinned by some bubbly keyboards, could have been one of those not-quite hit singles for FM in the eighties.

Other highlights include You Lift Me up and City of Dreams, although Brave New World was a bit too close to Mike and the Mechanics 'Living Years' for my liking. The album does get a bit samey in the middle, and could benefit from a tougher guitar sound, but the guitars are all over Bring Me Water, before a ballad Coming Home closes proceedings.

This man could sing the phone directory and still sound good, but this is a good solid album of AOR with pop leanings in its own right. But his fans will mainly see it as an aperitif for the forthcoming FM album.


Review by Andy Nathan

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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