This is the third album from Federal Charm, although it is the first one with Tom Guyer providing the vocals. The release date is the 14th September and the album was recorded at Willow Terrace Studio in Manchester. Federal Charm co-produced the album with John Simms (Hidden Colour Audio).
For the album Federal Charm wanted to retain the previous sound but allow Tom Guyer to let loose and show the world what he could deliver.
Federal Charm start a co headline tour with The Bad Flowers in September at the Thekla, Bristol and full details of the tour and how to book tickets can be found at our post headed Federal Charm – Choke – Single.
The line up of Federal Charm is Tom Guyer on Vocals, Paul Bowe on Lead Guitar, L D Morawski on Bass, Josh Zahler on Drums and Kyle Ross on Guitar, Keyboard and Vocals.
Passenger kicks off with Swing Sinner which for me is a great track, featuring buzzy guitars and using space really well to create an almost gospel vibe. It reminded me of early Rival Sons from the vocals. Vibrant and packed with precise drumming that again uses the space to its advantage without overcrowding. The riff is controlled and sublime, packing a punch. Telling a great story about an abusive, drunk father and his son Joe. After years of putting up with his fathers behaviour Joe can take no more and so he shoots his father dead.
The current single Choke is up next, allowing the drums to start before the guitars stream in. The bass adds texture allowing the guitars to climb and reach their peak. The vocals are used to great effect, shining though without the band as if it were a speech until the chorus kicks in and then the whole band come together. The chorus of this track will get your toes tapping and it is pretty easy to find yourself singing along within moments.
Emerald Haze is the track that for me is reminiscent of earlier Federal Charm, from its atmospheric riff which adds to the whole feel of the track. To me it reminds me of those hazy summer days which contrasts with the lyrics, as they convey a relationship ending and the jealousy of seeing your former lover move on. Therefore it has a slightly melancholy vibe but one that makes you want to swing your hips. There is a mesmeric quality to the sound, starting stripped back, allowing each instrument to be heard clearly before building into the rising, distorted riff.
Featuring a contrast in vocals as they become more gravelly in Death Rattle. The drumming here is elegant and controlled bringing real interest rather than providing a filler. The bass drives this track along before the guitar adds another layer over. It is one of the longer tracks adding an other world vibe in the last third,which has a bleak feel, the sense of loss is tangible, which is reinforced by the lyrics. It is a very clever section. Telling the concern over music venues closing down and being replaced by expensive apartment blocks it is a subject which will be close to most gig goers hearts.
Nowhere is home sparkles into being but with the sense that you are unsure what is about to unfold. I got the feeling of being on a long road trip, almost hearing wheels going round and round or train tracks clicking away. The use of the guitars to reinforce the idea of being rootless is very well done and you can hear the palpable emotion in the lyrics. There is great interplay between the bass and guitars which adds to the overall feeling of being lost.
Get through starts with frantic drums and guitars before softening and allowing the vocals to pick up and drive the pace. This helps to provide real interest as it is such a contrast to the instrumentation. The vocals then move to sounding a bit further away, which peaked my interested and this allowed the guitars, drums and keys to pick up the pace and so the interplay continues.
Man’s continuous destruction of nature whilst chasing profits and power provide the themes for Concrete Creature, calling on peoples apathy and inaction to motivate them to power without falling back to vacuous gossip and reality TV shows. Can’t rule me uses the resonant bass to combine with a hazy guitars to give this track a real buzz. It has a West Coast America vibe for me, with changes in tempo to build the atmosphere.
Halo has an upbeat tempo and a chorus that will get your head nodding and toes tapping, with interesting changes in pace and vocal tone keeping you interested. The clashing and distorted riffs add to the texture, moving into a drum and vocal combo with tweaks from the guitar. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser at gigs and you can almost hear the chorus being sang back.
Much more mean and moody is Speak out which has a gritter edge from the bass and lead guitar, having a heavy feel that is reinforced the vocals and drums. This is unsurprising given that the track is about the current governments failings over the NHS and education system.
The final track is Parting words, using s hauntingly melancholy feel, perhaps unsurprisingly given the nature of the lyrics. The staccato drum beat builds up with the deep bass line that drives into your soul. The skewed guitar tone adds to the overall texture. There are interesting changes in melody flying under the main body of the track, which makes your ears pick up. This is a track which you could listen to over and over and find something different each time.
For me the standout track of the album was Swing Sinner as I felt the tone of the vocals and guitars worked really well. There are very clever tracks here and should get people talking. I am looking forward to how these come across live at the gigs with The Bad Flowers and Those Damn Crows.
PRE-ORDER THE ALBUM F www.federalcharm.com/shop
CO-HEADLINE UK TOUR WITH THE BAD FLOWERS IN SEPTEMBER 2018
TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM www.planetrocktickets.co.uk