Music that is elaborate, sophisticated, and complex definitely has its place in rock; there is no reason why rock musicians shouldn't listen to Bach, Mozart, Chopin, and Beethoven (or Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, and Stan Kenton) if they are so inclined, and there is no reason why rockers shouldn't provide extended pieces à la Yes, Pink Floyd, or Emerson, Lake & Palmer if that type of approach interests them. But at the same time, simplicity also has its place in rock -- and that raw, primal, dirty, gut-level outlook serves Federation X fairly well on their fourth album, Rally Day. This is the type of recording that delights in stripping rock down to its basics, which isn't to say that the material is unintelligent. Rally Day has its share of sociopolitical lyrics that are intriguing, if overly cryptic at times. Ask five different listeners to analyze the lyrics of a Federation X song, and you may end up with five different interpretations. But while Rally Day's lyrics aren't terribly accessible, its grooves definitely are -- infectious, guitar-based grooves that draw on influences ranging from the MC5, garage rock, punk, and Black Sabbath to the Melvins, alternative rock, and Seattle sludge. Because of the Sabbath influence and all the fuzzy guitars, some listeners might be tempted to place Rally Day in the stoner rock category. But this early 2005 recording isn't stoner rock in the usual Orange Goblin/Fu Manchu/Goatsnake/Mystick Krewe of Clearlight sense, although it isn't hard to understand why a stoner rock or doom metal enthusiast would appreciate Federation X. Rally Day falls short of mind-blowing, but it's an enjoyable and noteworthy example of unapologetic rawness.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson