Morning 40 Federation


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Morning 40 Federation's self-titled 2004 album mixed rock and funk with more traditional New Orleans styles with interesting, if erratic and sometimes bombastic, results. The approach hasn't changed that much on 2006's Ticonderoga, except that the funk element seems considerably more dominant. It's a better-recorded album than Morning 40 Federation, and not as overdone in its execution, but still a little hammy. There's a party-in-the-face-of-the-apocalypse attitude in some of the material, and a rather in-your-face rock-funk chunk to much of it, though it's not as in-your-face (and considerably more New Orleans-ized) as, say, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. While these are intelligent musicians who play with some grit, there's also a smarmy cynicism to the songwriting and delivery -- one that seems to document the screwed-up world with callous if energetic resignation -- that's not only not going to be to everyone's taste, but is far from endearing. As they declare, without any apparent ambivalence, in "God Help Me": "God, help me to love normal people, but God help me, I don't love them." They step outside the rock-funk mix once in a while, getting into vaguely comic soul-pop balladry with "Washing Machine," swamp metal of sorts on "Skin," and strutting ragtime on "Toodle." If the intention of the closing barroom piano ramble "Conversation Whore" is to leave the listener with an especially irritating aftertaste, it succeeds handily.

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