Exposé Online banner

FM — Transformation
(Esoteric Recordings EANTCD1050, 2015, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2015-05-26

Transformation Cover artThe first studio album by this esteemed Canadian band in 28 years has gotten a lot of attention, and so it should. A band can’t cross that much time and space without some changes, and in this case the only remaining member from the classic lineups of the mid-to-late 70s is bassist, keyboardist, singer and de-facto bandleader Cameron Hawkins, who was also responsible for a fair amount of the writing in those days. The writing credits on Transformation now go to all four of the current band members, which include new drummer Paul DeLong, violinist/vocalist Aaron Solomon, and Edward Barnard who also plays violin and sings, plus viola and mandolin. FM was always unique in that their instrumentation (excepting the 1987 album Tonight) never included a guitarist, that fundamental cornerstone of all rock music, right? And so it is here, in fact they have doubled down that idea by adding a second vio/mando-player, and with more players that aspect of their sound has become more rich and varied. One thing that Transformation isn’t is a rehash of things they have done before, instead intrepidly moving forward into new frontiers. One still gets some of the philosphical sci-fi lyrics like days of old, but there’s a new driving energy in their sound, more concise and forward looking. The opening section of “Cosmic Blue” (and the rest of the song as well) gives the listener a clear idea of what kind of power can be wielded by this two-man string section. The album features nine song tracks total, a couple breaking the seven minute mark, most notably the closing pair “Soldiers of Life / Heaven on Earth” which is the closest they come here to sounding like 70s FM. More often the songs are well constructed gems like “Reboot Re-Awaken” and the somewhat Beatle-esque “Safe and Sound,” though occasionally taking a flight out into more freaky territory like “Children of Eve.” There’s a lot here to like, and the more one spins this disc, the more that fact becomes clear; this is the direction FM was going before they took a detour through pop-land in the 80s.

Filed under: New releases, 2015 releases

Related artist(s): FM

Latest news

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

L'Ensemble Rayé - Quelques Pièces Détachées – The core of L'Ensemble Rayé is Cédric Vuille (guitars, bass, clarinet, keys, ukelele, bandurria, percussion), Jean-20-Huguenin (guitars, mandolin) and Pierre Kaufmann (saxes, clarinets, piano,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues