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POWER IN THE BLOOD
POWER IN THE BLOOD
Up against the wall, snipers on the roof
Thought I was a gonner baby, but I'm bullet proof...
Released October 2002 on One Little Indian
- Two Heads
- Power In The Blood
- Reachin' (feat. Val Harrison) mp3 player
- Woody Guthrie mp3 player
- Year Zero (feat. Lisa Billson)
- The Devil Went Down To Ibiza [130bpm]
- Strobe Life
- R.E.H.A.B. (feat. Nick Tosches)
- The Moon Has Lost The Sun (feat. Hubert Selby Jnr)
- Let The Caged Bird Sing
- Yellow Rose
- Bullet Proof (feat. Siobahn Parr and B Atwell) mp3 player
- Lord Have Mercy (feat. Michael Groce)
- Come On Home
Led by Reverend Dr D. Wayne Love, Brixton's finest acid-house/country-rock combo return with another album devoted to the joy and misery of living in South London's infamous borough. Showcasing their own peculiar fusion of country, techno, euphoric trip-hop and twisted blues guitar, 'Power In The Blood', appropriately enough, is Alabama 3's third album - and their best yet; fourteen Alabama originals plus an inspired version of Springsteen's 'Badlands' anda cast list that includes Keith Allen, BJ Cole, Rolo McGinty, Eileen Rose and Irvine Welsh.
Here’s a few keywords for the Alabama 3. Swagger. Funk. Blues. Country. Western. Techno. Acid. Elvis. God. Cocaine. Trotsky. Gangsters. Genius._
Sounds like my kind of world. A world where they don’t play anything as prosaic as a ‘gig’. They’re called Sermons. And they don’t go on ‘tour’. They get Parole. You don’t become a fan. You get Converted.
Throw in a fixation with extreme left wing politics, Hubert Selby Jr., and the redeeming power of God through the cross and the salvation of the needle and you have something that just doesn’t sound right on paper. Unless you actually listen to it.
Their songs are empty, hollow landscapes of a lost preacher enduring the long dark night of the soul in a Memphis jazz bar. Of the lost, and of the lonesome tonight. They play the music of the evening before - the things that go bleep in the night - and the music of the morning after. The blues. The soft, exhausted drawl of exhausted desperation. In the same song. Titles such as “The Devil Went Down To Ibiza” and “Lord Have Mercy” establish the hitherto missing link between Robert Johnson and the Aphex Twin. And here it is. Music like this sounds it was made in 1930 and 2030 at the same time.
A revolutionary call to arms in the form of the titletrack “Power In The Blood” make a Jihad against capitalism sound like the most fun wars been since you were a kid and had an Action Man ™.“Woody Guthrie” takes every right-wing prejudice, debunks it, and rocks harder than James Brown at the Apollo.
They don’t make records like this anymore. They never did. Look beyond your prejudices. Look beyond boundaries and such artificial barriers as nations, styles, and genres.
I haven’t been able to take this out of my CD Player since I got it. It’s more addictive than crack with no lasting ill-effects. For fucks sake, if you think that music’s going through a lull right now, buy this, and be redeemed by The Spirit. You will be forgiven.
DROWNED IN SOUND.COM
Brixton's finest continue to spread their own peculiar 21st-century gospel of temptation and redemption on Power in the Blood, with the now-familiar blend of country, funk, house and blues applied not just to hedonist parables like "Strobe Life" and "The Devil Went Down to Ibiza" – which finds one thrill-seeker going "from the powder to the pipe in less than a week" – but to more specifically political targets, as they lambast governmental duplicity in the title track, and nationalism in "Woody Guthrie": "Don't need no country/ Don't fly no flag/ Cut no slack for the Union Jack/ Stars and Stripes have got me jetlagged". It's mostly smart, free-thinking stuff, sharp in both attitude and design: a five-song sequence of outlaw songs towards the album's close, for instance, builds on the success of their Sopranos theme, displaying just as much ambivalence about crime as it moves from the faux-Western romanticism of "Yellow Rose" and "Bullet Proof" through a subdued cover of Springsteen's "Badlands" to the mother's mourning of her dead criminal son in "Lord Have Mercy". As ever, few punches are pulled and few illusions sustained for long... Twelve-step hypocrites are chided in "R.E.H.A.B." for replacing one crutch with another ("No method no guru no teacher for me/ I got no faith in no fantasy"), though the most pointed critique of modern life clings to the gambling metaphor of "Year Zero", where gangsta attitude gets its just deserts: "When every winner is a villain/ And every loser is a hero/ We'll put on our two-step shoes and lose the blues/ And dance like it's year zero."
With Power in the Blood, Alabama 3 may have finally gotten everything right.
Power in the Blood takes the best bits of both previous releases, resulting in their best album yet. It's still as slickly produced as the best dance music... but they manage to infuse their electronics with genuine heart and soul - they may be the first dance act that would sound just as good unplugged. Best of all, they manage to combine guitars and drum machines with catchy anti-establishment songs while never fully lapsing into the dubious realm of Chumbawamba, which is why it's perfectly acceptable to dance along to the banjos and fiddle on standout track "Woody Guthrie", even if it does boast a chorus that says "Don't need no country / Don't fly no flag / Cut no slack for the Union Jack / Stars and Stripes have got me jetlagged". The lyric "Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be DJs" (on the superbly-titled "The Devil Went Down to Ibiza") is alone worth the price of admission.