16th November 2011

Album: Alabama 3 – Shoplifting 4 Jesus

An album packed full of country, funk, blues, gospel, acid house, dubstep and afrobeat. Something for everyone then.

Alabama 3
Shoplifting 4 Jesus
Hostage Music
3 Stars

The opening bars of Shoplifting 4 Jesus are terrifying. A gruff dodgy geezer voice makes the God-like proclamation “there shall be no bankers in the house of the Lord. Kill ‘em all”. This makes sense given the concept behind the album. On the band’s website it says the album was inspired by the world we live in today “where files are shared, governments lie and bankers steal.” After this haunting introduction, the chorus comes as a total contrast; it’s warm and comforting, layered with dream-like sounds and a soothing woman’s voice asks us ‘Have You Been Having A Nightmare’, the title of the track. It almost makes up for the trauma of those opening bars. But this comfort doesn’t last and soon a choir of sickly sweet children’s voices come in, singing some sort of mutant nursery rhyme, taking the track back to its horrifying roots.

Alabama 3 are one of a kind. Their album is packed full of influences ranging from country, funk and blues to gospel, acid house and more recent additions, dubstep and afrobeat. The dubstep influence, which perhaps comes from sharing their club night ‘Outlaw’ with new DJs, is particularly visible on ‘We Stole the Moon.’ They put their own stamp on it and the beautiful melody and soft guitars of the chorus seem like a different song entirely. Like every other track on the album, this track could almost be broken down and made into 5, still decent, songs.

Highlights come from the catchy ‘Who the Fuck Is John Sinclair?’ as well as ‘Abide With Me’, where the vocals are reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s version of ‘Hurt’, except they are even gruffer. Somehow Alabama 3 are still managing to pull off sounding like grimy London gangsters and country music hillbillies from the Deep South simultaneously.

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