Federal Charm reaching Across The Divide Album Review
The quartet from Manchester leaping the gigantic hurdle, the release of a follow-up album to the well-received debut and self-titled album. Many miles on the road has been covered since then. The result is an accomplished album, from a band that is determined to reach Across The Divide and take the blues infused ambience into the rock arena. The album achieves that spanning the genres by simply stating we are a band that plays music that connects to your soul it isn’t pure blues or rock but an artful blending and reworking to create a sound that is recognizable as Federal Charm‘s own brand of British Rock n’ Roll.
They have a Master Plan, and it is laid down with a deep groove of rock intent on the opening number. The guitar lays down a determined call to arms to join the charming plan as the drums, bass and vocals pick up the rock and hurls it with melodic power. The tempo cools with Guess What, do not be surprised with the variety and quality the band are going to play for you over the next nine tracks. Nick Bowden’s vocals are full of texture, adapting, reshaping themselves with natural ease for rock, funk, blues and emotionally charged ballads. The band is tight with another layer of guitar chords adding to the blistering energy from Paul Bowe. The engine house of the band, the rhythm section, gives a mixture both a platform of stability and intuitive feel to ensure the rhythm is never wooden. Thanks to the pairing of LD Morawski on bass and drummer Danny Rigg. Federal Charm a quartet that deserves being listened to both on the Live Scene and when recorded in a studio.
These Four Walls is beautiful. The production sympathetic letting the emotions flow. A superb slower bluesy number packed with lyrics that paint a picture of sadness, hope and what makes a home. This is a track that should be getting loads of radio play as it cuts across genres, listenable and full of melodic harmonics. The guitar break is plaintive and sharp it hurts as it hits your emotional responses deep in your music solar plexus. How do you follow a thing of beauty as they sing this is a house that used to be a home fades away? Easy, harden the tone up have some fuzzy, sleazy dirty guitar riffs and pick up the beat with Hercules. Ringing in the change is no herculean feat for Federal Charm as they reach easily Across The Divide. Half way through it is time for a country infused party, perfect accompaniment when celebrating the barn being raised, the harvest gathered in as the banjo kicks out a jaunty lick. Good time music that makes you smile.
Federal charm throughout their sophomore album combines skilful guitar licks, riffs and led breaks with sharp hooks for Nick’s vocals to pick up the mood and drive the musical conversation forward with lyrical storytelling. The mournful restrained approach to God, Forsaken shapes every tone of bitter grey into musical form. The bands power is condensed into a viscous grey melee then brightens as the tempo picks up and the lighter shading of grey is revealed.
The album draws to a close The Thrill, as this album continues to send shivers of thrilling music coursing through your veins. They have control and the influences are wide and lightly touch the sound that is essentially Federal Charms Rock. Closing with a ballad that is full of wistfulness, hurt and the pain of when someone puts one foot in front of another as they Walk Away from you. The beat goes on and Federal Charm are definitely on a trajectory where they reach Across the divide and are heard for the music they produce not some artificial genre boundary.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD NINE doodle paws out of TEN ….
Federal Charm – Across The Divide
- Master Plan
- Guess What
- No More
- These Four Walls
- Give Me Something
- God, Forsaken
- Walk Away (Time & Time Again)