FEDERAL CHARM — Passenger Review

The Manchester, England four-piece rock band FEDERAL CHARM will release their long awaited third studio album “Passenger” on Friday 14th September 2018.

Paul Bowe (guitar) and LD Morawski (bass) recruited new vocalist and frontman Tom Guyer and also one of Manchester’s top drummers, Josh Zahler in 2016, following their co-headline tour with SIMO and Aaron Keylock.

The captivating and characteristic voice of Tom Guyer led to rock ‘n’ roll alchemy when he joined Paul and LD in the writing sessions for the third album…

Guitars moan and grind with pain and loss…

We had a listen —

Swing Sinner” is an expressive ditty about murder, child cruelty and punishment and is definitely on the darker side of things — think sixteenth century Child Ballad material. So you can hear the saw-man as he works on the gallows [guitar] the murderous rhythms of the traps as they fall [drums] and the promise of slow strangled asphyxiation [the voice]. The vocals are scathing yet hold within them the shame of treachery— while guitars moan & grind with enduring loss.

Almost everyone has gone through the pain of watching a loved-one find a new beginning with someone fresh. So the feelings on “Emerald Haze” might be familiar. Criss-crossing guitars confuse and entwine the voice… and the voice sounds so broken we can imagine Tom’s life-force being torn from his body. This might be a heart ripping number — but it’s soul-stirring too, and told without animosity. There’s no pain held back.

But not all relationships end in heartbreak … not even for blues-rockers! So “Get Through” is about the search to make a relationship work. This has ordered drums, unconditional voices and riffs that might remind the listener of the early days of Led Zeppelin, circa 1969.

Tom Guyer – tremendous lyrical flexibility… Photo Credit © Simon Reed Musical Pictures

Love song “Halo” is an uncluttered rock song with impressive vocals, dapper rhythms and debonair guitar. This has an Eighties sounding sheen, so if you can imagine something neat and durable like Duran Duran but with the dirty power of Bon Jovi you’d be half-way there.

But we return to classic Led Zep with the progressive and sparkling: “Parting Words” — a song that might be blues-based but has all hallmarks, glamour and appeal of prog-rock…

The songwriting skill and exemplary production sets this apart from anything else on the album.. this pushes the boundaries and reaches for the stars. The resonant guitars fade into the background while stormy drums barely contain themselves. But this is very much a dream landscape … so wait and you’ll soon be rewarded by fizz and magic… then an intelligent mix of reality and fantasy with unprecedented voices and a keen sense of mystery.

This album is stuffed with unforgettable riffs, heavy-footed rhythms, colourful ‘n’ groovy blues journeying and suggestions of the darkest, bleakest folk.

Tom has tremendous lyrical flexibility but that’s not all… the emphatic drums are exceptional, the guitars are bewitching and special mention must go to Kyle for those ingenious and lightly daubed keys and L.D. for his subtle but impressive bass-play.

Extraordinary 5 stars

Passenger” was recorded, produced and mixed at Willow Terrace Studios in Manchester.  Federal Charm co-produced the album with John Simms (Hidden Colour Audio) who also engineers for fellow Stockport band, Blossoms. FEDERAL CHARM are embarking on a co-headline UK Tour [dates below video] with THE BAD FLOWERS this September 2018

Words: @neilmach 2018 ©
Main Picture: Photo Credit © Angela ONeill

Link: https://www.facebook.com/federalcharm/

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