Love Letter To A Record: Albin Lee Meldau On Steel Pulse’s ‘Handsworth Revolution’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Albin Lee Meldau – Steel Pulse’s Handsworth Revolution

I remember when I was about to start my first year of what we in Sweden call Gymnasiet. It’s after obligatory school when you’re sixteen. Of course I chose music – it was the only option since I failed most of my other classes. The way to get in was by audition, and not doing anything at all wasn’t an option according to my family. Pissed off no one told me. I could have been in the park playing guitar all along instead of going to classes that I would have failed anyway due to boredom.

My father desperately wanted me to graduate and bribed me in all kinds of ways, but the best thing he gave me was a record from a band who, to this day, I think is one of the greatest English bands of all time, Steel Pulse. It was their magical record Handsworth Revolution. My dad regards it as the best 2 quid he ever spent in a charity shop.

I listened a lot to hardcore roots, but Steel Pulse were on a different level. They come from Birmingham and have a deep progressive sound that can make you feel the grotty factories and machines, just like Sabbath. It was like me experiencing a part of the world that I didn’t fantasise about, like Jamaica. A part of me I could feel closer to than the Caribbean. Maybe it’s just me, but for me it’s so great I can’t even express it.

David Hinds and his amazing choir of super singers stands out as a very important part of my sound, just like Youssou N’Dour, The Jordanaires or The Wailers Band. If you combine the dirty factories of England, throw in Bowie’s progressiveness and then chuck on Frankie Lymon going to Africa, you get Steel Pulse. This was also Bob Marley’s favourite band after The Impressions.

The first one is a lasting one, and I will always love them.

Albin Lee Meldau’s debut album ‘About You’ is out now.

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