Unless you have been under a rock for the better part of the last decade, you have likely already heard -- and might unknowingly be a fan of -- UK band Alabama 3. A3, as they are known stateside thanks to Alabama and their attorneys, are responsible for the sinisterly pounding theme to "The Sopranos" that sounds like it has been out all night drinking, smoking and generally partying it up. But that song only scratches the surface of who and what A3 is as they fuse country, gospel and rock with electronic for what has lovingly been dubbed "chemical country."
While some tracks are heavy in electronics, such as "Mao Tse Tung Said," which samples cult leader Jim Jones ranting and raving over pulsing beats for a catchy combination, elsewhere the band strike a rather serious -- OK, mostly serious -- pose as country musicians for "Hello…I'm Johnny Cash" and the heartfelt ballad-slash-rocker "U Don't Danse To Tekno Anymore." The styles merge surprisingly seamlessly for "Ain't Goin' To Goa" and "Too Sick To Pray" as Alabama 3 make it look effortless.
A3 rock and roll like Johnny Cash, bounce around their own private rave and then pull themselves back together with barely a hair out of place. While Soulsavers grabbed attention in the scene last year, Alabama 3 stake a formal claim to the sound with this lengthy compilation. With such a balance of sounds, it can be hard to know when they are making a point and when they are merely trying to provoke or simply have a good time. Regardless, Alabama 3 have their moments of brilliance on "Hits & Exit Wounds."