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SHADOWMAN Ghost In the Mirror Escape Music (2008)


FM frontman Steve Overland continues to be one of the busiest men in rock - in the last 18 months his old band triumphantly reformed at Firefest, he has released a second album with The Ladder, his debut solo album and now Shadowman's third album in just four years.

The good news is that such a punishing schedule has not affected his golden, soulful tonsils, and that after excursions into modern pop rock and hi-tech AOR, this album sees him firmly in familiar territory of British, blues-influenced hard rock. Indeed the opening pairing have a very Deep Purple feel to them, as Hammond organ and guitar solos slug it out on the Highway Star-esque Road to Nowhere, and No Mans Land sees Steve sounding a little like Glenn Hughes.

There is a good variety to the album, from the straight-ahead hard rock and catchy choruses of Colour of Your Love (even if the riff is lifted from MSG's Samurai!) and Its Electric, the west coast feel of Blues City, and Outlaws, returning to the Bad Company-esque sound of FM's later work.

There are also a couple of slower numbers designed to give Steve's voice space to breathe, including the album's crowning glory, a six minute ballad I've Been Wrong Before which will have fans of the early FM foaming with delight. Even songs I first dismissed as filler gain a charm of their own with repeated listening.

Special praise too to Steve Morris, seemingly Escape Music's house musician, for a sympathetic production as well as supplying guitar, ranging from Latin-style acoustic strumming to some fluid solos; while Thunder's rhythm section of Chris Childs and Harry James have this style of music off to a tee.

An album of real quality, and one which deserves to be heard in its own right and not just as a taster for the FM reunion.


Review by Andy Nathan

GRTR! Recommended

Best of 2008

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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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