Algiers
There Is No Year


3.5
great

Review

by neekafat CONTRIBUTOR (59 Reviews)
January 26th, 2020 | 18 replies


Release Date: 01/17/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: You’ll get what’s coming to you

From the opening blips of the titular opener of Algiers’ latest album “There Is No Year,”, the listener can hear a discernible lack of propulsion compared to the opener of their previous release, The Underside of Power. While there’s an impressive electronic pulse that drives through the song from start to finish, it’s hardly the rabid rallying cry that was “Walk Like a Panther," a howling mish-mash of gospel, trap, industrial, and post-punk. This uncomfortable comparison is only worsened by There Is No Year’s following track and lead single, “Dispossession,” which falls into an uncanny valley of mirroring “Panther”’s vocal melody and structure on several occasions, exhibiting a serious lack of passion even when its destructive bridge only threatens to finally transcend itself.

The easy explanation of the enthusiastic disparity between the songs is that the former was recorded in the wake of Trump’s election, a severe blow to many marginalized communities in the United States that many saw as an embrace of the most intolerent, unsympathetic aspects of America. Viewed through this highly reactionary lens, it serves as a compelling argument to “Panther”, and the rest of the album’s, fury. One could only wonder what unbridled anger might have been festering at the heart of the band three years into his presidency.

Yet, here we are. Overall, There Is No Year acts from a place of weathered dysfunction than a raging fire. Rather than fanning the fires of revolution as before, There Is No Year focuses more on trying to make sense of the world that remains. It no longer pushes the edges of the band’s established sound, but rests comfortably within their treasure trove of ideas. The aforementioned electronic emphasis marks the album out from its predecessors, creating a layered soundscape that requires multiple listens to fully crack, even if it lacks the burning immediacy of previous works.

While there is some fault in this sonic timidity, Algiers’ core sound remains invigorating, and so once the initial shock is over, the album reveals a comforting depth. There’s an emotional scope that was eclipsed by previous albums’ adventurousness, and listeners that prize the former aspect of music will likely enjoy this better. Franklin James Fisher’s vocals are still a triumph, merging the band’s deft skill with an exciting banter, and the songwriting remains solid and trustworthy, if not as engaging as before. In tracks like “Losing Is Ours” and “Repeating Night,” the listener will find unnerving, incredible pieces that will creep under their skin.

So this is all to say that it’s not to say that this album is completely without surprises. As when the climaxes do come, such as on “Chaka” or “Nothing Bloomed,” the album feels redeemed. These moments put the slower moments in context in a satisfying and exciting way, one that rewards the listener rather than testing their patience. At its core, this an album that’s rooted in hope, in reassurance rather than anger. One concerned with burning so hot for so long that it might fizzle out, aiming for something softer this time. There is nothing as rip-roaring or furious as “Walk Like a Panther” but it makes its point just as effectively in its own way, it simply depends on how you like your anger served—hot, or like an ice-cold dagger. Algiers has made the decision that more anger is not what its audience needs, but rather the understanding we’ll get the light at the end of the tunnel that’s coming for us. Whether we fight for it or not.



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user ratings (55)
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2020


17514 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

first review in months please go easy on me

and if you think this is bad you shoulda seen it before Johnny gave it a pass (thank you fren!!)

Ashtiel
January 26th 2020


881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i think this is the biggest grower out of their three albums so far, and i like your comment about the more apparent emotional scope. there's some lyrics on here that kinda read like love songs.

Digging: Neurosis - Through Silver in Blood

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2020


17514 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

agreed, some of this stuff is beautiful

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2020


11429 Comments


Nice, three contributor reviews in a row

Digging: Sutrah (CAN) - Aletheia

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2020


17514 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

let's make it four!!!

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2020


21177 Comments


*drops Tentenko bomb*

Digging: Envy - The Fallen Crimson

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
January 26th 2020


21177 Comments


Looking good!! Love how succinct this comes across, awesome stuff. Will maybe definitely listen to this at some point ;]

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2020


17914 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well, there it is.



Gonna read it later. The album is quite a grower, agree Ashtiel.

Digging: Post Animal - Forward Motion Godyssey

Point1
January 27th 2020


769 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This band has all the pieces to not be boring but they really can't help themselves. I am dying for a record by these guys that can hold my attention longer than 5 songs.



Like, this sounds like a solo project. You have Matt fucking Tong! You presumably have a bassist! Please live up to your potential

gschwen
January 27th 2020


234 Comments


Just a personal anecdote, I always make sure to check the new Algiers record, and for whatever reason it's always the same reaction... I would enjoy them more if they had a hook. I find myself at the end of every record enjoying their sound but coming away with no recollection of any particular song to return to. Something about them doesn't sit quite right in my mind to really elevate them to something more than average. Still waiting for it to click.

DoofDoof
January 27th 2020


7288 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Worst band of the lot

JohnnyoftheWell
Contributing Reviewer
January 27th 2020


21177 Comments


There are a lot of bands :[

DoofDoof
January 27th 2020


7288 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

It’s worrisome I agree

Kompys2000
January 28th 2020


3533 Comments


Hmm yeah dunno about this one

Digging: Spanish Love Songs - Brave Faces Everyone

neekafat
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2020


17514 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

How is this the worst band wtf

Kompys2000
February 1st 2020


3533 Comments


Doof doofin' as per ususal

DoofDoof
February 1st 2020


7288 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Lenny Kravitz level vocals over 5th hand Joy Division with added edgelord abrasive bits



How could they not be the worst band of all time?

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
February 13th 2020


1260 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i'm liking this album a lot more than i thought i would. not sure how much staying power it will have, but it's very solid.



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