My Federation

Mountford Hall, Liverpool University
12th April 2008

Reviewed by Mark Langshaw

Tonight was always going to be a challenge for Brighton-based rockers My Federation. Entertaining a legion of diehard James fans while they impatiently await the arrival of their idols is no easy feat, but their brand of upbeat electro-funk quickly found favour amongst the myriad 90s nostalgists.

Too many support acts have an air of ‘we’re only here to pass the time’, but from the off it was clear My Federation were going to be different. Their exciting concoction of driving rhythms, impressive harmonies and pulsating guitars caught on fast. With choruses seemingly written for audience participation, melodies reminiscent of the Beach Boys and a funkiness to rival Kasabian, the band have stumbled across a winning formula.

Their debut album ‘Don’t Wanna Die’ received favourable reviews in the media, earning them comparisons to The Flaming Lips. From the evidence at hand, such reviews were more than justified. The entire set was an apt homage to 90s indie-dance and 70s rock - from the ideology of Oasis, to the epic guitar assault of Led Zepplin. The raw basslines pumping away beneath the surface added rawness to the mix, the spattering of synth some additional flavour.

Wearing so many influences firmly on their sleeve gives the music a familiar quality. Attending a My Federation gig is not unlike a nostalgic evening with your record collection, seeking out your most treasured records, selecting your favourite tracks. For this reason, they are apt support for a band like James, who were there commercial peak in the mid-90s.

Frontman Lee ‘Muddy’ Baker, who worked as producer on the latest James album, boasts a distinctive vocal style, his light, psychedelic tones providing the perfect accompaniment to their rich tapestry of sound. Baker, who is also responsible for all the band’s artwork, has a commanding stage presence and seemingly limitless reserves of energy.

No doubt we can expect big things from My Federation in the future. Their debut album earned critical acclaim, and live they really know how to pack a punch. Watch this space.

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