In the later half of the 2010s, Algiers have proven themselves to be a standout group among indie rock circles, known for their unique fusion of gothic post-punk with soul and southern gospel. Even though fusions of post-punk and soul music have been explored by other bands, such as TV On the Radio, Algiers’ approach to these sounds is uniquely visceral, grim, and impassioned, especially when it comes to the vocals provided by Franklin James Fisher.
Their eponymous debut had a very rough yet despondent sound to it, leaning heavily into the band’s gospel influences more than any of their other releases, and even channeling a little bit of No Wave. Their second album, The Underside of Power, didn’t display any big or radical changes in sound and style, but they leaned a little more into post-punk while creating a much fuller and richly textured sound. And now, on their third release, There is No Year, Algiers continues to refine the sound they’ve built their names on.
Like their last album, the changes made on this one are subtle, with the production being cleaner than any Algiers record before it, and the use of more electronic elements — such as on the title track and “Chaka.” Otherwise, it’s pretty much Algiers as they’ve been known up until this point. Songs like “Hour of the Furnace” and “Wait for the Second” are pretty inconspicuous for the band, delivering on that very soulful and gospel-esque goth rock they’ve built their names on. It’s not bad at all. In fact, I’d say it’s pretty good — but it is pretty meat and potatoes for these guys. Going back to the more electronically-tinged songs, the title track kicks the record off pretty effectively with its very immediate and propulsive percussion and synthesizers, giving the song a potent sense of urgency. “Chaka” is the closest thing that the album has to a curve ball, in that it sounds like if Bauhaus wrote a song for Michael Jackson. It’s a good song, but kind of weird for a band like Algiers to be doing.
Other than that, it’s just Algiers as usual. Fans who have enjoyed Algiers’ last two albums for their iconic fusions of genres will most likely enjoy There is No Year, but those who may have been craving something different from the band might be a little disappointed. Still, this is a very unique and worthwhile record from a very unique and worthwhile band.
Recommended If You Like: HMLTD, Protomartyr, Tropical F*ck Storm
Recommended Tracks: 2 (Dispossession), 3 (Hour of the Furnaces), 6 (Chaka)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Satchel Owens on 02/28/2020