American Folk Horror
Those fine folks at Estrus must have a magic lodestone or divining rod for finding some of the best and rawest garage punk bands around. This release by Federation X is no exception. Sounding at times like the bastard offspring of The Birthday Party and The Jesus Lizard, Federation X creates a sound that is raw, sinewy and tight. In the sixties, they would have labeled these guys as a power trio, but the term power is an understatement.
The album opens up with the track “Hatchetman,” that rocks and careens as the narrator relies he’s being followed by the Hatchetman: “He had a thousand tiny scars upon him, of every tiny embrace he had cuts.” Then the track “Charlie Jackie Freedom Pride,” a song that juxtaposes a latter-day Native American coming to terms with the reality of a blue collar existence: “I don’t need this, I don’t need it anymore/’Cause I’m Indian warrior king.” Then the disc shifts gears and the Federation celebrates love on “The Song About the Sweet Lovin’ Woman.” The track opens up with some killer riffs and rages through them before we get to “Song About the Knife.” This is track that whacks against your head with a crisp beat.
Federation X is a band that remembers the roots of rock music. They swagger with a Bo Diddley beat and create some of the finest music around today that explores the dark seamy side of the American “heartland.” The aptly titled disk perfectly conveys its aural contents. And like the lines go in “Charlie Jackie Freedom Pride”: When they fuck with your soul, just lay the beat on down• just lay the beat on down. Federation X lays the beat down in spades.
Estrus Records, PO Box 2125, Bellingham, WA 98227; http://www.estrus.com