Federale - The Blood Flowed Like Wine 2XLP
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When you first throw on The Blood Flowed Like Wine, you might think, “This sounds like Rome (the Danger Mouse album).” Check yourself, though. Rome came out in 2011. Guess how long Federale’s been doing it? Since 2005. Now who sounds like whom?
It’s been a while since a solid, non-pretentious concept album has come around, but Federale’s managed to concoct the ideal balance between scene-setting filler and song-length singles. From the opening track, “Juarez Wedding,” there is no mistaking where this train is headed: straight back to the 1800s in all its cowboy glory.
“Wedding” segues right into the eponymous track, immediately evoking a Doors-esque vibe with fuzzy guitars and echoing vocals. As the album unfolds, it’s fairly easy to visualize barren wastelands, a lone rider, and some serious bloodletting. It’d be a bit of an oversimplification to call this album a soundscape, but it would be understandable: only two of the songs contain lyrics. The rest of the vocalizing comes from mournful wailing or iconic whistling.
Picking out a single track to laud is difficult due to the album’s demand that you take it as a collective work rather than an assembly individual pieces, but suffice it to say the final track, “FINE,” is a forceful, summarizing ending to a cathartic trip courtesy of Federale. - Charles Trowbridge