With a band like the Alabama 3, there seems no way to correctly introduce their new work whilst doing justice to their extensive back catalogue, too. So, I’ll simply leave it to them…
We’re the Alabama 3. We make Sweet Country Acid House music all night long. We’re not from Alabama, and there are not three of us. We’re from Brixton, London. We’re the fellas that did that Sopranos theme tune. That tune bought someone a swimming pool, but it sure wasn’t any of us …
Alabama 3 is a pop band. A punk rock, blues and country techno situationist crypto-Marxist-Leninist electro pop band. We never went on X Factor or Pop Idol. We did it the old fashioned way; back in 1996 we threw a big old party, invited all our friends. Then we took a fistful of blotters and half a dozen disco biscuits and then made it up as we went along.
They’ve tried to stop us, many times. They said we were degenerates, corrupters of morals. They said we were too political, too contrived and too ugly. We’ve been in and we’ve been out; in and out of the charts, in and out of fashion, in and out of rehab. We’ve been skint and we’ve been minted… and you know what? It makes no difference to us. Because we’re never gonna stop. We gonna just keep on putting out records and putting on shows.
And putting out records and putting on shows is exactly what they’re doing with twelth album Wimmin From W.O.M.B.L.E. Vol 2 (a bit of a mouthful) and their subsequent UK tour at the close of this year (full dates below). They’ve been around such a long time that they felt it was time to shake things up, and that they did with the previous record in the W.O.M.B.L.E. series, Vol. 1, in which they focussed on the young men in their community. Now, with Volume 2 they wanted to with they “wanted to collaborate with the cool sisters, the mothers of our community to see what happened.”
With the male:female ratio in the Alabama 3 at 9:1, some help’s been roped in from outside the outfit, but opening Bam Ba Lam (Here Comes Daddy) has been reworked by the band’s own Aurora Dawn. A bizarre minute opening leads into the meat of the track with powerful vocals taking control and the eclectic influences fluctuating through the backing of the music. The confidence and power in the music doesn’t need to be stated and with some many years experience creating music, the production is of an impressively high standard.
If I Should Die Tonight is equally, well, random; something that could’ve slipped into a Katy B track turns into a reworked snippet of the infamous Cup Song (You’re Gonna Miss Me) and continues through into something grunge slash dance. No two seconds are the same and the hectic sound is something you can’t help but be fond of. In juxtaposition, Soon Come makes a mellowed out impression from the off; there’s more consistency to this relaxing sound, and the very real lyrics appeal through it.
If reggae music met trance electro, Burning From The Inside would be the chilled and luscious result, with a piano throwing the rawer sense into the track. Where this track leaves off, The Devil Went Down To Ibiza picks up, spoken words meeting an eclectic backing for a minute and a half, before the backing on the track takes equal control and the meat of the song kicks in. Unsurprisingly from the title, The Ballad of the Gravediggers Daughter is much darker, electric influences seeming to play a part with something rather Monster Mash-esque.
Country and western springs to mind in the commencement of Don’t Dig Any Deeper Darling, before fading back into the strange mix of dance influences that make the album. A similar acoustic to dance trance blends You Are The One together, and the cleanliness and power of this switch makes it a personal favourite off the record. You Can’t Hold Me Down dips deeper into the dance acid sound, though the vocals sound akin to The Cardigans, cutting off into Switchblade Stilettos, once again using the radio voice to open the track – with an incredibly unnerving speech. Screeching vocals add the sharp edge the title infers, and rapidly switches between genres.
Raspy male vocals contrast the smooth female ones in Following Rainbows, and two and a half minute blast that deserved to be played up. Once again, spoken word begins closing The Ballad Of The Great Train Robbers Wife, and the music reverts to a male and female voice telling the story throughout, interspersed with hectic dance/trance moments again. An electronic “you are free” closes the album, as bizarre as every second that preceded it.
It’s eclectic – no other word would do it justice. The sheer plethora of influences makes it somewhat irresistible, its constant changing making it fast and ambitious.
Below, you can find the upcoming live dates for the band.
Thu 06 NORTHAMPTON Roadmender
Fri 07 INVERNESS Ironworks
Sat 08 ABERDEEN Lemon Tree
Sun 09 NORWICH Waterfront
Thu 13 BARNSTAPLE Factory
Fri 14 LEICESTER Academy
Sat 15 GLASGOW ABC
Sun 16 LIVERPOOL Academy
Wed 26 SOUTHAMPTON Brook
Thu 27 CAMBRIDGE Junction
Fri 28 HOLMFIRTH Picturedrome
Sat 29 MANCHESTER Academy
Thu 04 LEEDS Brudenell Social Club
Fri 05 BIRMINGHAM Institute
Sat 06 NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
Sun 07 OXFORD Academy
Thu 11 BRIGHTON Concorde 2
Fri 12 BRISTOL Motion
Sat 13 LONDON Brixton Academy