Record of the Week

Algiers “Algiers”


(Matador Records/Beggars Banquet)

Algiers may be a group that is made up entirely of men, but I still have to think of a woman instantaneously. I think of Nina Simone singing “Mississippi Goddam” or “Sinnerman” or rather how these songs just seem to break out of her.

Since nothing in the likes of Algiers has ever been heard of before there is the inevitable need for comparisons. Those who have been waiting for an Afro-American Nick Cave have to listen to this band and all those who were not waiting for something like that have to, too: within Algiers’ sound Gospel meets Hardcore and Soul is combined with Post-Punk and Industrial. The result of that sounds as if Nina Simone and Bad Brains would be celebrating a cathartic mass or Fela Kuti and Birthday Party or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins with Gun Club or maybe even all of them together. And yet no one will have managed to find salvation at the end of the eleven tracks that can be found on the album.

Algiers do not provide the listener with answers. They have plenty of paradoxs to work through themselves. For example this whole issue of God and religion. You might feel completely at ease and comfortable in your agnostic pop-living-room, but Algiers are originally from Atlanta, Georgia. Singer Franklin James Fisher is Afro-American and he would not simply abandon his beliefs and give up actively practicing them in church. It is quite likely that the church itself might be the place in Atlanta that provides the most freedom possible and provides a space for protest as well.

It is paradoxical and difficult to understand and that is why Algiers’ music is so upsetting in every possible sense of the word: songs like “Blood” and “Old Girl” seem like updated modern-day versions of songs sung by slaves, embedded into humming Industrial music. “Irony Utility Pretext” features elements of 80s-Electro-Disco that have crept into the song even though it remains dark and haunting over all. “Black Eunuch” features all of the band members making sounds by beating around on random things until a crazy hyperactive gospel emerges from that. Algiers’ music is extremely sincere and exposed at all times and yet in every single moment just as dense, intense and massive. It is above all impressive to consider that the album was in fact created between the continents of North America and Europe since Fisher, bass player Ryan Mahin and guitarist Lee Tesche live in New York City and London, which means that the tracks were sent back and forth and continually edited and developed bit by bit. It is almost impossible to imagine what intensity Algiers could possibly reach were they to produce their songs together in one single location.
Christina Mohr

Algiers auf Tour:
29.10.2015 München | Strom
30.10.2015 Frankfurt | Mousonturm
31.10.2015 Berlin | Badehaus Szimpla
01.11.2015 Hamburg | Molotow
02.11.2015 Köln | Gebäude 9


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