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Album Review: Alabama 3 – Shoplifting 4 Jesus

3 min read

Inspired by the London Riots of 2011, long standing members of the acid house movement, Alabama 3, are about to release their 9th studio album. Shoplifting 4 Jesus is the bands latest musical outing and combines some intense songwriting with the bands acclaimed, experimental approach to their genre bending signature sound.

Alabama3ShopliftingWith a graphic image of a dying Christ cast upon the record sleeve, Shoplifting 4 Jesus captures the essence of a band who have been around for years, perfecting and refining their sound along the way. Maintaining a less than commercial life in the industry the band hit their peak back in 1999 after being given international exposure with their track Woke Up This Morning which found residence within the opening credits to the internationally successful TV series The Soprano’s making the number an iconic feature of the long running series.

The band put Shoplifting 4 Jesus together during the famed riots of last year and the ordeal hit close to home for members of the band who formed Alabama 3 in Brixton back in 1996.

Shoplifting 4 Jesus proves to be an ambitious venture for Alabama 3, which, like previous releases, envelopes multiple genres including their signature house sound with a more evolved reggae and hip hop flavoring. Electronica is another predominant feature on Shoplifting 4 Jesus which holds up well throughout the record and adds a modern touch to the songs making up the records track-listing.

The dark spoken word of Have You Been Having A Nightmare is a fitting opener to Shoplifting 4 Jesus which perfectly showcases the bands notable eclecticism as it combines dub-step with a melodic chorus and children telling a haunting nursery rhyme.

The following I Blame Kurt Cobain begins with a rebellious opening lyrical licking of “We’re from the south of the bridge, where the guns and the violence and the cannabis mix”, perfectly describing the Brixton neighborhood, particularly in the time of the riots, though a lifestyle for residents of the battered area. The track enlists an array of sound effects recorded throughout the riots and proves to be one of the albums highlight numbers with its dripping yet effect melodic and layered vocals.

I’ve Been Seeing Stars (Ain’t Seen The Light) is another notable on the record with front man, Rob Spragg, who goes by the alias of Larry Love, offering his distinctive, bass heavy vocals atop a melody that is infectious and complimented by some female vocals that make the track one of the most memorable additions to Shopping 4 Jesus.

The bands country influences show face on the following Saved which is more structured than the rest of Shoplifting 4 Jesus and tends to sit within the least number of genres, forming a perfect centre to the record with the beautiful addition of a harmonica and some slick hip hop moments.

Musical experimentation and pushing the boundaries of genres are two things Alabama 3 have become world renowned for and with Shoplifting 4 Jesus the confidence to push those boundaries is still evident on each and every track featured on the album. Not only is it evident but Alabama 3 do a spectacular job at showing just how it’s done. The record slots nicely into an every growing catalogue for Alabama 3.

Buy ‘Alabama 3 – Shoplifting 4 Jesus’ from Amazon