Album Review Algiers - There Is No Year

Algiers - There Is No Year

At their best when they opt for eerie subtlety over pure sledgehammer power.

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After 2017’s widely-praised ‘Underside of Power’ (“a brutal and intense reflection on the world as it is right now”) gospel post-punk group Algiers have returned with their third record, the forebodingly titled ‘There Is No Year’.

‘There is No Year’ is a continuation of its predecessor’s rage and politics but with a far wider palette. There are blasts of no-wave synths and blaring horns on standout ‘Chaka’, haunting drones on the powerfully elegiac ‘Wait for The Sound’ and wall of sound production on ‘Nothing Bloomed’.

It’s a record that doesn’t do things by halves, which is commendable but often to Algiers’ detriment. Subtlety is often traded for power making listening to the album feel like a draining experience over the course of its runtime. Lead vocalist Franklin James is blessed with an incredible, force-of-nature voice but sometimes the sheer power of it threatens to derail the dynamics of the songwriting behind it.

The album blossoms when his delivery matches the tone of the music. ‘Chaka’ is case in point, the vocals locking in perfectly with rumbling synths and abrasive saxophones creating a song that builds into into a powerful and haunting groove. It is a mesmeric bit of song writing that shows that Algiers at their best when they opt for eerie subtlety over pure sledgehammer power.