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Alabama 3 - Power in the blood (One Little Indian)

Album number three from the crazy ensemble, they've done the tongue in cheek debut, the more serious second album, now it's time for them to consolidate their sound and show what they're really about. And, boy, have they done it in spades. "Power in the blood" has the slick production of "La Peste", but rediscovers the lively eclecticism of their debut.

It kicks off with a bit of humour, 'Two heads', which sounds like a gospel tune written by Monty Python, before launching into the strident call to revolution that is 'Power in the blood'. Anyone who still thinks that the band's tongue in cheek mix of dance music and US traditional styles is all a big joke needs to sit down and actually listen to what is a straight-forward slice of radicalism. But, in case you didn't get it that time, don't worry, there's more...

'Reachin'' is a slightly mournful piece about recovering from drug abuse and despair, with a sardonic slice at the show that made a name for them Stateside, "the Sopranos". Then it's time for the truly undeniable slice of in-your-face serious politics, 'Woody Guthrie'. Even the name shows that there's more to Alabama 3 than play, their use of different music styles is more of a tribute than a pisstake. The Cajun-tinged country music backs a powerfully anarchic song about everything from racism to globalisation and their consistent theme of miscarriages of justice. There's no messing around in the chorus,
"Don't need no country,
Don't fly no flag".

But, it's not all serious politics, the band still knows how to have a good time and pen a satirical tune. The pairing of the moody 'The devil went down to Ibiza' and the deep bass house sound of 'Strobe life' is this album's version of 'U don't dans 2 tekno anymore', a sardonic swipe at dance culture. 'R.E.H.A.B.' is a big gospel song about drugs and religion. 'Let the caged bird sing' is a delicious slice mix of blues and country about the ambivalence of terrorism, with references to Class War and Rimbaud. 'Bullet Proof' is a fabulous mix of styles, featuring a wonderfully funky vocal performance from Siobhan Parr and something between spoken blues and rapping from B Atwell, all over a funky electronic backing.

This is a must have album, D Wayne and Larry Love are in fine voice, the music is as smooth a mix of dance styles and country, folk and blues as you could imagine. It's an album you can enjoy for its great sounds or really get into with its strong political message.

Donnacha DeLong

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