CLUAS Album Reviews

Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Oct 5

Written by:
Friday, October 05, 2007  RssIcon

Review Snapshot:
A band living off an old song and a stale image, Alabama 3 hit the photocopy button one more time. Bland songs plastered in cliched sounds; the only refreshing thing is the unintentional honesty of the album title. Someone, put a cap in their ass.

The CLUAS Verdict? 2 out of 10

Full Review:
After eight years, Alabama 3 are still trading on their debut album, 'Exile On Coldharbour Lane'. That 'Sopranos' theme, 'Woke Up This Morning', was its best-known song and on the basis of their tired new album they'll be depending on that old track for a long time yet.

The album's name is meant to be ironic but, as usually happens when a band jokes about sounding uncool, is completely accurate. The title track of sorts, 'Middle Of The Road', pays tribute to The Eagles. By this we mean that the lyrics are about The Eagles and the music sounds like The Eagles too (to be specific, 'Take It Easy'). Hardly the stuff of the Deep South honky-tonk good ol' boys that Alabama 3 seem to admire.

 But then everything about this band - the preacher-man stagenames, OTT 'American' accents and cut n' paste  blues, soul, country and '70s rock - is a tiresome, unconvincing gimmick trying to distract you from the blandness and unoriginality of their songs. Whether they're straining to act like hoodlums ('Lockdown And Loaded'), barflies ('Monday Don't Mean Anything') or free spirits ('Are You A Souljah?') they just sound irritating and ridiculous.

All of which wouldn't be a problem if the songs had any bit of spark or muscle to them. Instead they can only muster up lame cliche-riddled pastiches like 'Fly' and 'Work It (All Night Long)'. Even an appearance by The Proclaimers on album-closer 'Sweet Joy' fails to lend any bit of personality - you'd hardly know they're there.

Anyone who still finds the Sam Snort column in 'Hot Press' wild, daring and hilarious might like this album while driving home from the office or fitting kitchen cabinets. Otherwise, keep in by the side of the road and let this  manure truck roll by.

Aidan Curran

 To buy a new or (very reasonably priced) 2nd hand copy of this album on Amazon just click here.

Location: Blogs Parent Separator Album Reviews

26 comment(s) so far...

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

You are fucking crazy. I understand that you wrote this only to meet some kind of quota with your job. you obviously have no idea what in the hell you are talking about, and you're dense.

tra la la.

By Joe on   Sunday, September 16, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Reviewers and critics eh, usual up their ass rubbish. The tired cliche is not Alabama 3 but the garbage been pushed on youf culture by the media machine most musicians (ha), reviewers and critics are only too happy to buy into. It is virtually impossible to find bands who are not homogenised, talentless and tedious ie: all done before and all very slight variants on oh the most simple of musical constructs. A3 bring a smile, knock out a damn good beat, are excellent live and are some distance from the talentless dirge that somehow gains the critical respect. It all stinks of the emperors new clothes. If we knew what this reviewer's musical abilities are and what he considers so good then perhaps we can review the reviewer's musical credentials.

By Iain Y on   Saturday, September 22, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Your reviewer obviously reads the NME and tries to keep his ear to as close to what's in and what's not i tne pop charts, probably thinks Pete Docherty's a god. Firstly the title comes about from the irony of so many so called easy listening MOR bands like the Eagles where actually all coke and heavy drug freaks, also they play on white lines (what do you get in the middle of the road). As for the first album, no way is woke up the best song on it, as you would know if you actually listened to it. This is there sixth studio album and continue to grow through word of mouth, they are easily the best live band around at the moment, this is due to having no pretentions,unlike your reviewer,

By John McManus on   Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Joe: This reviewer is not crazy. Iain Y: You do not have to be a musician to have an opinion on music, therefore "reviewing the reviewer's musical credentials" is pointless. John McManus: How do you know that the reviewer never listened to the first album? To all of you: You are free to submit an alternative review if you wish via our submit an article page (see link above on main navigation bar at the very top of the page). If it is well written I will ensure it is published. eoghan (editor and all that).

By eoghan on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

This review was so obviously written by someone trying to be so 'cool' they either didn't bother to listen to the album properly or they have cloth ears. If he wants a band that he can understand he should go and listen to The Carpenters. Th album is brilliant and has been on my CD and car system non-stop since I bought it. I will use this reviewer to ensure that any music he rubbishes I will make sure I buy. Stick to making snide comments about stuff you understand - probably bagpipe music and drun and bass.

By James Henry on   Monday, October 01, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

i agree !! except with eoghan

By Mike_CAN on   Thursday, October 04, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

My comments from 3rd October pointing out inaccuracies have been deleted. Hell yeah, censorship rocks. Bruised ego, CLUELESS?

By Brixton Bhoyz on   Thursday, October 04, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

The only album that I enjoy listening to as much as MOR is exile on coldharbour lane. I think MOR is a brilliant album. Don't take the word of this critic listen to it yourself and decide.

By Steve on   Thursday, October 04, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Exile From Coldwater Lane? How can you make two mistakes in one title?

Maybe this article is just a prank of some kind.

By Mark on   Thursday, October 04, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Sincere apologies, all you A3 fans, for the mistake with the 'Exile On Coldharbour Lane' title (I have a copy of it, so I should have got that correct!). That doesn't make the new album any less terrible, though - but thanks for visiting!

By aidan on   Thursday, October 04, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

I Suppose a Date is out of the question Aidan?
Tripod Next Thursday...come and see them LIVE!!!

By Marianne from Dublin on   Thursday, October 04, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Hi Aidan, thanks for the reply. If you take your article seriously why don't you correct the mistake of the title? This is the Internet, not a newspaper. You can change it without a problem.

If you decide to correct, please also correct that Middle Of The Road is not just a tribute to The Eagles, but also to the music in that era in general. Didn't you hear them mentioning James Taylor, David Crosby and other artists in the song?

Actually it looks like you didn't hear anything, or even did a proper research.

I hope they don't pay you for this.

By Mark on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Please check out the link from this same website to see what it's like to write a real and mature review.

Try to compare it with what you wrote, and hopefully you will see that your own review just makes you seem disrespectful and ignorant about their music.

By RJ on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

The 'Exile On Coldharbour Lane' title has been corrected. I invite the Alabama 3 fans who cannot bear to see a critical review of their heroes to direct their energy into submitting an alternative review (one that might be what you consider even "real" and "mature") instead of siphoning your energy off into insults, cheap anonymous pot-shots and profanity (hence my deletion of numerous comments here). Keep it constructive, not destructive.

By admin on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Admin, I think the problem with the visitors here is that they don't see much constructive criticism in a review that says right in the beginning: "Someone, put a cap in their ass." Sounds more like a childish cheap-shot, rather than a person who takes music reviews seriously. Hopefully someone will send a better one soon.

By the way, thanks for correcting the title.

By Mark on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Mark, the correction could only be made by Mr Admin (access and all that), so there was no slight intended by the time it took for the correction to appear. Again, apologies for that error of mine. As for the rest of the review, I stand by what I wrote. Marianne, very nice of you to ask but I'm afraid I have to reluctantly turn down your offer!

By aidan on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

Nice review, how to make friends..........not!
Learn to appreciate others tastes for music, its easy to slag something off that you dont like, try writing something about the actual music not just this songs crap and boring type of thing. I thought reviews were supposed to be informative in order for others who like similar influences make their own judgements if they want to purchase the album, not just to read about someone who has personal issues with the music. If it were that case any twat could write reviews..................ah..........

By MrOpenG on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'


By SEAN LYNCH on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

La Peste is the best A3 album. The Hotel California cover beats the shite out of the original. Outlaw was disappointing, as is MOR, but it might still grow on me. What's required from A3 is a live album to get out of what might be becoming a somewhat stale studio groove.

By Rob on   Friday, October 05, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

I completely disagree with your review. When something is done once you can call it a gimmick, twice, it becomes old hat, but after ten years or so it may be time to accept that the bands fusion of "blues, soul, country and '70s rock" (Or Acid house country blues) is not a gimmick, have you considered that perhaps when the band call for socialism in the main line that they may in fact mean it?

I find it reassuring that Alabama 3 have managed to leap over your head, but worrying that you feel the need to display that publicly.

By Lefty on   Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

you do talk some shit mate!!!! the only dung i see rolling past me is this review when i scroll.

By pedro el grande on   Thursday, October 18, 2007

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

"Well Hello, I'm Aidan Curran!" "Walking down the train track, OH no I ain't coming back, the brain in me is a load of crap!"

By Shiggs on   Sunday, February 24, 2008

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

This is aint no review-Its a goddamn industry hatchet-Job...just like all the others!-aint you got yourself a stone to crawl under mista weasel? Sure hope that manure truck dont hitcha boy!
To the rest of the converted I say theres still some power in the blood! Party on Bamas!!!!

By Rev.P.Shapeshifter on   Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

much as i hate to admit it, the reviewer here is right about A3 having to depend on woke up this morning - but i would dispute this fact being because their new stuff lacks "spark and muscle" or that it is "bland" "cliched".
it strikes me that the reviewer didn't actually like "woke up this morning", and has, since that is the best known song, used that as a base point to object to all the songs.
saying that using the a similar sound to the eagles, in a song that pays tribute to the eagles, is somehow bad doesnt quite fit. if you were to write a song about, for example, johnny cash, wouldn't you try to achieve a similar sound to his songs? if you were to write a song about an ex-train robber, wouldn't you try and do something similar to the old country sound?
now then, to come to your claim that the sound is gimmicky. we have to remember that there were several other albums between Exile on Coldharbour Lane and M.O.R, and in these albums it's noticeable that this "gimmick" is still there - you have to realise that they describe themselves making "Sweet Muthafuckin Country Acid House Music" and as "a pop band, a punk rock, blues and country techno situationist crypto-Marxist-Leninist electro band". it may be slightly too subtle for you, but i pick up just a *hint* that the whole acid house country blues sound might not be a gimmick.
now then, to deal with your claim of unoriginality. yep, they cover old songs. but if you compare the 2 versions of those songs, i do believe you'll find a massive difference. take any of the earlier versions of "Amos Moses" and the A3 version. it's a bit like the difference between the original version of "When the Levee Breaks" by Memphis Minnie and the Led Zeppelin version. Sure, their other songs don't quite have the completely new and fresh sound of bands like Franz Ferdinand or the Kaiser Chiefs, but this isnt a completely new and fresh band - they formed in '89 and released their first album in '97 - there are plenty of bands who have come and gone in that period. you might as well have said that "hits and exit wounds" is just the same old stuff - of course it is, it's a best of album!
so what we've learnt here is that you have given a biased review, simply because you don't like the sound that they make. everyone who like it likes it precisely because of the reasons that you dismissed as childish and uneducated. i personally think that they've made the odd mistake over the years, but most of their songs are incredible, and even better live. the above should demonstrate that i'm not the type destined for manual labour and reading the sun or some similar bollocks, so you can't exactly say that it's for the type of person who still finds the Sam Snort column funny. please, in future, offer an unbiased opinion - not one that is based on your personal music preferences.

By NuklearAngel on   Saturday, March 29, 2008

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

I agree with most of the people commenting, what a boring snooty critique!!! Go to one of the gigs, Alabama 3 are fun, theatrical, take it with a sense of humour. Yeah I understand the argument of cliche, but the whole genre is riddeld with cliche, if we are gonna have a band which really plays on this genre in the catchy way A3 play, then they might as well be from Brixton! It's claiming to be fun, and I think on that basis they suceed.

By Peanuts on   Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Re: Alabama 3 'M.O.R.'

I guess y'all think you been redeemed?
Ain't no love in this world greater than mine...f'r ALL god's children...

By Otis Loveless on   Sunday, June 01, 2008

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