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BRIXTON GROWLERS DEBUT NEW GENRE OF MENACING DISCO

ALABAMA 3  REVOLVER SOUL  4 STARS 

FROM IRISH MUSIC MAGAZINE HOTPRESS

With 13 years and seven studio albums behind them, Alabama 3 know how to make a record.  Consistency, variety, delicious irony and a good time are all pretty much a given, so where do the shambolic elevensome go from here?  And more importantly, is there anywhere the experimental wizards can go that they haven't already been?

Hell yeah.  To start, intro 'Oh Christ' is a howling, cinematic affair (looking for a scoring job, lads?), complete with asphyxiated gasps, shattering glass and other distinctly un-Disney like diegetics.  Even odder, 'Bad To The Bone' is branching into a whole new genre of menacing disco, while the addition of Shane McGowan's unmistakable moan, topping and tailing 'Fix It', pushes Revolver Soul right into cuckoo country, in the best possible sense.

Our man McGowan is just one of 30, count 'em, 30, musical cameos on the album, with as many as five guests shoehorned into one song (see 'Hostage' and the rather trancey titular track).  Razorlight's Johnny Borrell is less recognisable on 'She Blessed Me', his soulful croon overshadowed by the tune's strong gospel sway.

Elsewhere 'Bad Girl' fuses Supremes shoop with Jamaican gangster (courtesy of yet another guest, underground jungle act Tenor Fly), and the blippy 'Keep Your Powders Dry' bears just a touch of Daft Punk warp.  Clearly, genre-hopping is indulged freely in the A3 camp these days, but when Larry Love's growling and L.B.Dope's steady percussion are anchoring it down, the overall effect never strays too far from the gritty blues rock that made us love Alabama 3 in the first place.

Two interludes, an anti-war stomp ('Vietnamistan') and a suitably bonkers outro streak past and it's all over.  I'm not sure I understand what animal, vegetable or mineral created a lot of the noises on the record.  No matter.  There's so much multi-dimensional mayhem going on, the only way to really enjoy Revolver Soul is to step away from the CD sleeve, groove along to the threatening beats, and ask absolutely no questions.

CELINA MURPHY

KEY TRACK: BAD TO THE BONE