Algiers are possibly the most interesting new artist to come out this year. Mixing elements of post-punk, gospel, and southern gothic music should be a disaster. This trio from Atlanta, GA have not only managed to make something incendiary, but also completely original and impossible to ignore.
As stated above, anyone who picks up this record can expect massive gospel vocals and noisy guitars that constantly thrash their way track after track. Each chorus has a thundering quality that permeates and takes over the whole experience, only to have instrumentals build to an epic ending worthy of celebration. Algiers even manage to add a slight electronic presence throughout that throws another curve ball at listeners to swing at. The instrumental performances are excellent throughout, especially the guitars and drums. The guitars battle between setting somber and dark textures, while also bringing immense energy in others. The drums are the real heartbeat of the album though, bringing either an immense force to various tracks or a soft constant tone to keep tracks moving forward.
There are many memorable moments on the record. “Remains” kicks the album off with a fearful instrumental that uses ambient noise and drone to near perfection. “Blood” enters midway into the track listing to bring forth a massive choir of voices and drums that emphasize the track’s religious themes beautifully. “Irony. Utility. Pretext.” is the crown jewel of the record though. Using a Pretty Hate Machine era Nine Inch Nails-esque beat along with booming vocals and themes about power trying to hold you down is quite the hefty musical attack.
The only disappointing aspect of Algiers first effort is ending the album on it’s weakest track. “Untitled” is a passable track that would fit fine anywhere else in the track listing, but it ends the ride on a fairly anti-climactic note. There are fine drone segments that spill over from the previous track but the building tension is quickly gone after the beginning of the track goes nowhere. There are some nice carnival textures and gospel vocal samples to close off the song, but by then the track is too slow to captivate emotionally.
Algiers are not only a band to look forward for in the many years to come, but also have an album of the year candidate here. The astounding mixture of post-punk, gospel, and southern gothic genres are beautiful to take in. The sense of grit, heavy instrumentals, and momentary finesse proves the band is not a one trick pony. Anyone who likes music that will challenge their brain should listen to Algiers immediately. The experience is worth every single second of their time.
3. And When You Fall
5. Old Girl
6. Irony. Utility. Pretext.
7. But She Was Not Flying
8. Black Eunuch
10. In Parallax