Federation X

X Patriot

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With Steve Albini behind the controls, it's no great shock that Federation X's third full-length album, X Patriot, sounds at once harder, tighter, and leaner than the band managed on its first set for Estrus, American Folk Horror, and while Albini's well-known love of in-studio dynamics may have something to do with it, the aural evidence suggests this band has chosen to cut to the chase a little faster this time out. Federation X's two guitars/vocals/drums lineup has gained some power and a great deal of sonic coordination since the band's last trip to the studio, and if the lyrics are still inscrutably cryptic (it appears that they're trying to say something political on "Slave Song," "Good as Gold," and "Stone Soup," but good luck figuring out just what), the guitars speak with an authority and concision they didn't conjure up before, while the percussion holds the melodic threads together with strength and security. While X Patriot sounds like the work of a band that hasn't made its great album yet, it's closer than Federation X has come in the past, and punk fans with eclectic tastes ought to give it a spin.

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