Straight Out Of America's Deep South Via Brixton
Alabama 3 are a confusing band. For starters they're not a three piece and they're not from Alabama. Sure they may dress like they just rode the weary and dusty road out of America's Deep South but these nine musicians actually hail from Brixton and beyond. And sure, they may have a blue grass country core residing in their tracks but Alabama 3 are much more than a country band. Melding jazz with rap, soul with dance, Alabama 3 certainly don't conform and are most definitely not your average band.
Cheekily naming their latest release 'M.O.R' Alabama 3 prove that there is nothing middle of the road about this band as they unconventionally kick off the album with 'Check In', a track that starts with a fanfare of jet engines before encompassing an airport announcement that finally makes way for your captain. Average it definitely isn't and with their tongue firmly wedged in their cheek this is one gang who are happy to prove that they aren't what you'd expect. 'Lockdown' introduces the first glimpse of country funk as the tale of love and obsession takes on a rough and ready form fuelled with an infectious beat that is impossible to resist. From this 'M.O.R' injects some jazz funk dance beats to rival Basement Jaxx as 'Monday Don't Mean Anything' builds upon a doo wop introduction, transforming into a wave of colours and beats that will have you heading straight to the dance floor to strut your stuff. At the basis of Alabama 3 there is still a country heart that beats with an American south mentality, displayed in all its glory with 'The Klan'. Drenched in southern charm that intoxicates with a beat and melody to match the raw husk of vocals, 'The Klan' provides more southern charm than a crate of Jack Daniels delivered by Forrest Gump, making you question just how a group from Brixton can capture the essence of the south so well. As if to answer 'Hooked' adopts a southern preacher role as things are initially slowed until a driving beat is introduced and female vocals combine with Devlin Love's husky voice.
Fittingly for a band that continually deliver the unexpected, 'M.O.R' has its fair share of surprise guest collaborations, most notably that of The Proclaimers on album closer 'Sweet Joy'. Sultry smooth, 'Sweet Joy' eases its way effortlessly into your affections with The Proclaimers brilliantly combining with Alabama 3, making them seem like the most obvious collaboration ever. And herein lies the charm of the band. They may not be what you'd expect but they always deliver with an ease and grace that is admirable. Whether chilled out Bluegrass Country to unwind to or up beat jazz to dance like a fool to, Alabama 3 deliver all and by the end of it you'll be convinced that you really are in America's Deep South.