Federation X – Rally Day
By Kasey Anderson
The problem with consistently making great records is that, after a while, you stop surprising people. Rally Day, Federation X‘s latest offering, is just that: a great record. Unfortunately for Fed X, due to the quality of their two previous releases, American Folk Horror and X Patriot, the stunning quality of Rally Day may be lost amid comparisons to the band’s earlier work.
Recorded in a few days during “Dirty” Bill Badgely’s recent Bellingham visits (Bill migrated to New York before the release of X Patriot), Rally Day is the band’s most urgent record, in both subject matter and sonic impact. The songs butt up against one another, the end of one often bleeding into the beginning of the next, making for an album that’s as cohesive as it is aggressive. Though the subject matter jumps from state-of-the-union diatribes (“Nightmare Nation”) to bitter epitaphs (“Hydrogen, Nitrogen and Bullshit”), the record’s overall mood is consistent: dissatisfaction, rage, regret and perseverance.
Musically, Fed X continue to fuse melodies from the folk tradition with grimy, rhythmic rock ‘n’ roll, this time creating perhaps the tightest, most dynamic batch of songs the band has ever committed to tape. There aren’t any wasted words, superfluous guitar histrionics, or disposable lyrics, just taut, hypnotic songs that lull you into submission before assaulting your senses.
Another year, another great Fed X record. When will these guys give quality a rest and embrace the inconsistency so many other bands have embraced? Some bands just never learn. – (8.5/10)