Once described as the best live act in the UK by the Guardian, the band who sound tracked the opening clips of many people's favourite gangster drama return with their ninth studio album, Shoplifting 4 Jesus. Alabama 3 are back on the scene and this album demands your attention as a listener.
Alabama 3 didn't quite scale the heights that some other bands reach despite having provided Tony Soprano's driving tune in The Sopranos but their brand of 'sweet Pretty Muthafu*kin Country Acid House Music' as the band put it still has their fans and music critics in raptures.
Shoplifting 4 Jesus is the first album from Alabama 3 not to feature Harmonicist and Programmer Piers Marsh, who left in 2010.
The album sees Alabama 3 pursuing a sound that is tinged with a lot more electronic, hip-hop and reggae influences. To convey how many different genres are squeezed into this album even Motorhead's Lemmy even makes an appearance when a line from Ace of Spades is sampled.
This is contrasted with the sampling of KC and the Sunshine band.
Well it wouldn't be Alabama 3 without a curve ball from time to time.
None more so than when opening track 'Have You Been Having A Nightmare?' features actor/cockney geezer Ray Winstone.
According to an interview with frontman Larry Love, Shoplifting 4 Jesus was inspired by the London riots from summer, 2011.
This album can sometimes be an uneasy listen but this is where the appeal in lies. Just when you think it has turned down an avenue you are not comfortable with the orgasmic mix of beats, harmonies and gravel dragged vocals coax you back and make you continue.
'I blame Kurt Cobain' kicks in with a beat and vocal that could be straight off an urban album but suddenly transforms into an alt-rock guitar trashing, drum smashing final minute of fury. Not only are they mashing genres together over the course of an album but in individual songs.
Shoplifting 4 Jesus is not only a great piece of music from the input of Alabama 3, but the numerous samples that they weave in and out of the songs compliment them in way that they couldn't be accused of ripping anyone off. The whole band is in fine fettle on this album and can be added to current legacy their cult status has built up in the music industry.