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| 11 April 2016 | Reply

Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Federal Charm - Across The Divide

It’s rare to find a band so thoroughly well-schooled in the nuances of classic rock that they can deliver such a well-rounded, coherent and diverse album of unflagging quality as Federal Charm have managed with Across The Divide.

Opening with the soulful retro rock of Master Plan, it’s obvious the Mancunian four-piece have done their time behind closed doors and have their game plan well and truly sorted: They have the songs, the riffs, the vocals, the cohesiveness as a unit and the cocksure swagger of a band who know exactly how good they are.

Second single Guess What takes the band down the bombastic Led Zeppelin route, complete with sawing guitars and a Percy Plant circa 1974 vocal, whilst These Four Walls shows they have the chops to deliver a slow-burning blues loaded with restraint and emotion.

The band throw banjo and harmonica into the mix for Give Me Something, which starts out like an Allmans Brothers Americana rocker, before veering Led Zep-wards and back again. This melting pot of influences work so well together – it’s no surprise to see that Federal Charm have been playing with the likes of Black Star Riders, UFO, Joanne Shaw Taylor and Tracer.

There’s another slow-burning heavy blues in God, Forsaken, Push brings to mind the dynamics of Free, Rory Gallagher in a classy modern blues that feels like an old favourite and completely fresh at the same time. Album closer Walk Away (time & time again) slows things down again with a sad and melancholy tale about dysfunctional love, heightened by a scorching guitar solo that counterpoints its mournful piano.

All up, Across The Divide is an excellent second album from Federal Charm and proof that they have all the ingredients in place to make a true classic next time if the dice fall the right way up.

Category: CD Reviews

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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