Federal Charm on their Evolutionary Third Album: Passenger
With new singer Tom Guyer and a new guitarist, the Manchester blues rockers have returned with more grit and a greater sense of identity
Words: Phil Weller | Photo: Anthony Firmin
Manchester blues rock four-piece Federal Charm, having had a turbulent last 18 months, are now basking in the sunshine after emerging through the other end with a new line-up that now plays with a greater sense of identity and fire, their highly anticipated third studio album, Passenger, the fruits of their labour. The record, which releases Friday 14th September and is now available for pre-order with fans who do so getting first single Choke as an instant download, is one guitarist Paul Bowe speaks about in high regard.
For Passenger, the new line-up, whilst wanting to retain much of Federal Charm’s previous natural sound – where bands like Free and 70s Zeppelin were of great and undeniable influence – they also wanted a fresh injection piercing its veins too.
“We started writing this record in 2016 and it’s definitely a progression from what we’ve done in the past,” says Bowe, who is most excited about the new sonic platform the band were able to stand upon thanks to the styles and influences new vocalist Tom Guyer brought to the band. They wanted to let his voice, his energy and his creativity loose so he could show the world what he can do: “Tom wanted to be true to what [former frontman] Nick was doing, but he’s got more of a contemporary, Chris Cornell influence, that’s his vibe, so we wanted to really use that too. It’s been interesting to see what direction he’s taken these songs in.”
The band, who have supported UFO and recently toured the country on a Planet Rock backed run of dates, spent more time writing than with any other of their previous albums, Bowe even stating that many of the songs were demoed as many as five times. By developing this material slowly however, they’ve been able to take these the songs into new territory, especially when it came to tone. Says Bowe, “It’s a heavier album. There was no way to tame the beast. We’ve added a new guitarist too because Tom doesn’t play guitar and I wanted to keep that Fender/Gibson interaction going. Our sound has got more layers now than we’ve ever had.”
“There’s still a lot of Nick across the album,” the guitarist continues, “it’s a crossover of the two singer’s influences. Tom has raw talent, he was f**king unbelievable even in his audition, his range is huge. We needed to make the most of that.”
Federal Charm co-produced the album with John Simms (Hidden Colour Audio) who also engineers for fellow Stockport band, Blossoms. Says Bowe: “John was really good to work with. He’s highly technical, has a great set of ears and commands an invaluable ability to locate and add that missing ingredient to make a song stand out from the crowd.”
The band’s co-headline UK tour with the Bad Flowers is timely, as the band will be showcasing material from Passenger, hitting the road shortly after its release.
Tickets are available at www.planetrocktickets.co.uk
THE BAD FLOWERS & FEDERAL CHARM CO-HEADLINE SEPTEMBER 2018 UK TOUR
Thekla, Bristol Wednesday 19 September
Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd Thursday 20 September
Rock City Basement, Nottingham Friday 21 September
Classic Grand, Glasgow Saturday 22 September
The Live Rooms, Chester Sunday 23 September
The Deaf Institute, Manchester Monday 24 September
The Parish, Huddersfield Wednesday 26 September
Think Tank, Newcastle Thursday 27 September
Corporation, Sheffield Friday 28 September
O2 Institute 2, Birmingham Saturday 29 September
Borderline, London Sunday 30 September