Dropping at a time when self-righteous bombs fall murderously and
purposelessly when patriotism is at an absurd all-time high
and somber record low the latest album from Federation X, X
Patriot, opts not to protest or rally. Instead it reflects simply
on a world the band can't quite relate to. Federation X
because they're affiliated with no one. Why X Patriot? Because
their "patriotism" is not former but like none other. They're neither
right-wing nor left-wing, pro-America nor anti-America. They're not
Republicans, Democrats, communists, fascists, rednecks, liberals,
conservatives or hippies. They've built their own loose confederacy
that's at once like nothing and encompassing everything their
perspectives come from being uninvolved, on the outside and through
the looking glass.
Lead singer Bill Badgley best explained this in an interview a couple
years back when he said he and his bandmates feel like "non-citizens,
standing in one spot as America is spinning around. You don't pay
taxes, you don't work. You walk into the mini-mart in the morning to
wash your hair and there's the newspaper laying there about what your
society is doing: 'Oh yeah, I forgot about that.'"
Which is not to say they go untouched by current events. Their
ominous, thrashing, dirty blues- and metal-inspired punk tunes simply
look at the world from an alternate angle that embraces the whole
past, present and future. Produced by the legendary Steve
Albini, X Patriot touches on such universal issues as love and
sex, struggle and control, change and hope.
X Patriot opens with "Apeshit," Badgley singing, strained and
threatening: "I'm in the middle of a nervous breakdown/ I'm a time
bomb/ How do you like me now?" The lead track summons a sort of
treacherous, fragile state, pressing in gravely, foreboding with
ominous, rumbling bass and creepy riffs before begging in advance:
"Please forgive me."
Infused with carefree, breathy whistling, sneering croons, minimal,
heavy rhythms and slapping beats, "Real American Kids With Real
American Ids" speaks like The Police's "Roxanne" of prostitution in
empathetic fashion. "Now they're dancing in the streets," Badgley
sings. "In pairs of worn-out shoes/ Far past the five and dime/ All
the liquor signs ...I was the lucky one /Hey, hey / Free at last.
Driven by eerie, mad riffs, "Good as Gold" feels the darkest,
punishing and vengeful, while the attitude-drenched closer "Stone
Soup" is fed by the most danceable, swaggering beat and optimism.
"And it can't go on/ If we send it on/ If we want it to," croons
Badgley, sounding like a mix of Jagger and Ozzy. "We will carry on/
Like we always do/ And if the sky don't rain/ And the dam don't
break/ I'll be going there with you/ We can carry on/ Make something
Indeed the band has made something new. They've also built something
fused by imagination, intelligence, passion and sincerity. But most
of all they've built something their own without needing to subscribe
to someone else's club. They are X Patriots they are