The new lineup of Federal Charm was always looking as though they would go harder and louder than before
And I have to say that I was a little concerned that what had made Federal Charm one of the most original of the new bands might have been lost in the transition.
In fact they have gotten heavier but there is still a ‘snap!’ to their sound that an awful lot of lesser bands would kill to achieve.

The band have expanded to a five piece and joining original members Paul Bowe |(guitar) and L.D. Morawski (bass) are vocalist Tom Guyer, drummer Josh Zahler and Kyle Ross on keys and second guitar. The result is a power band that sit in the heavy Blues side of the genre but they still have melody and passion in the songwriting as well.

Opener ‘Swing Sinner’ is a dark and strong number about a young lad who kills his abusive father and is hung by the unknowing townsfolk for his sin. They encapsulate that in a 3 minute song that shows off Guyer’s vocal capabilities and still allows for some stunning guitar work and a monster riff.

‘Choke’ is a bitter little piece about snobbery and status, highly dynamic and with a great sense of pace about it while ‘Emerald Haze’ explores a far more balladic tone, covering the feelings of jealousy one feels at the end of a relationship. The guitar solo on ‘Emerald Haze’ is one of the best on the album.

I must admit to a more than sneaking love of ‘Concrete Creature’ covering the sad state of the world where globalisation and profit are allowed to rule to the detriment of everything else. A touch of acoustic, heavy stomps and then a fine riff – it has a real sense of the whistle-blower about it.

The best track here though is ‘Halo’ – a terrific song of love found, lost and renewed until … The vocal performance is superb and once more there is a super riff.

The band have developed into a real riff machine with a great feature in biographical songs, just long enough to get the point across and short enough to have you looking forward to the next number.