The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011


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.

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Nuggets from our archive

2008 - A comprehensive guide to recording an album, written by Andy Knightly (the guide is spread over 4 parts).