Words: Craig Hartranft
Here's another band rocking like it's 1975. Hailing from Manchester, Federal Charm arrives with their second album, Across The Divide, another foray into their blues groove classic hard rock.
Upon first listen, I had thoughts of both Free and Bad Company, mostly because of the timbre in Nick Bowden voice. A little Paul Rogers there. But then I thought, Federal Charm is definitely more lively, even versatile, than Bad Company, for instance. Always found them a bit more lumbering and sluggish in their heavy blues rock style. Yet, outside of this comparison, a few things caught my ear.
First, you can't ignore the large swaggering riffs in the guitar work, then complimented by sweet solos. The guitars are driven along by the steady and lively rhythm section, which powers infectious beat and groove filling every song. While generally invoking a clasic blues rock groove, in composition, Federal Charm throughs in some unexpected flair. For instance, in the middle of Guess What, there's a bit of organ and what sounds like some steel guitar, giving the song a slight country feel. That same feeling becomes a bit more self-evident with Give Me Something, a song touched by some Southern banjo. Actually, at the start, the banjo and drum shuffle remind me of Skynryd's version of Haggard's Honky Tonk Night Time Man, only the used some Dobro.
After these thing, that simple smoldering, even subdued, blues groove can be found in many songs like The Thrill, the soft ballad These Four Walls (great emotional vocals), and the slow grinding God Forsaken. Alternatively, other songs like Hercules and Silhouette, a favorite, bring generally straight up rock, the latter having an easy accessible pop feel from the catchy riffs. All in all, Across The Divide is some solid stuff, true classic and melodic blues hard rock from some talented fellows. Definitely recommended for your listening pleasure.
Federal Charm's Across The Divide is some solid stuff, true classic and melodic blues hard rock from some talented fellows. Definitely recommended for your listening pleasure.
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