Algiers – “The Underside of Power”

Algiers is the band we need for the era we’re in right now.

I’m sure you’ve heard me rave about them before. Algiers is the quartet of Franklin James Fisher, Lee Tesche, Matt Tong, and Ryan Mahan, who present a heady and cerebral mix of punk rock, soul, and gospel with highly charged lyrics on race, class struggle, injustice, and bucking the powers that be. Their 2015 self-titled debut was a revelation for me for it’s overwhelming sound and mood, with Fisher commanding matters like a riot-starting visionary over deep, dark, and aggressive tunes. Algiers is an album of power, a knowledgeable and knowing record of pointed fury, and man…it really blew my mind. From the jump I was waiting patiently for the follow-up.

In the two years since that record? The hell the band touched on in their debut came into full view. America in 2017 is at a breaking point: The worst people are in power, and the American facade is crumbling. We’re all trying to figure out where to go next. Everything is on the table, and the stakes higher than they’ve been in decades. Shit is wild, and Algiers is right at home in the middle of it. Their recently released second record, The Underside of Power, nails the confusion, anger, and volatility of our current times. It draws from a wider range of influences in sound and feel, making forays into ’80s punk, ambient, and more synthesizers (and one track with a great Portishead vibe, thanks to production from member Adrian Utley), but the mood and the energy from the band is still very much alive and present.

“The Underside of Power” is a highlight. With an aggressive, fast-paced and bassy sound inspired by ’60s northern soul, the band declares that while the world may seem on fire, it’s only a matter of time before the powers that be will crumble, and it’s on us to keep fighting. It’s an inspiring, empowering listen from the group, and definitely one song necessary for the soundtrack of 2017.