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There Is No Year—an angry, dark album for a new decade

The latest offering from the band Algiers encapsulates a period of chaos, war and struggle—but it’s also got a sense of resistance, writes?Lois Browne

Issue No. 2688

Algiers - angry, but with some optimism

Algiers - angry, but with some optimism (Pic: PR handout)


Algiers’ third album There Is No Year comes in hard and fast.

Based on a poem by lead singer Franklin James Fisher—and politically charged as ever—it takes aim at the current period of struggle and turbulent times.

The first and title track of the album launches into frantic heavy synths and thundering claps, like an alarm ringing, signalling ready for battle. “And we’ll spiral out until the day we all fall,” sings Fisher.

The next song and single Dispossession dismantles US imperialism, and its effect on people across the world.

Backed by heavy piano and carried by bold lyricism, its video features images from the band’s trip to Algeria during the 2019 protests.

It’s shot on location in Noisy-le-Grand commune in east Paris, where the population is largely African.

The video finished with an evocative quote from Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, “Nothing is harder on the soul, than the smell of dreams while they are evaporating.”

Algiers—playing the sound of 21st century revolution
Algiers—playing the sound of 21st century revolution
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It embodies the sentiment that’s at the core of the song.

Ominous and sombre, the record delves deep into the troubling depths of social volatility throughout.

The track Hour of the Furnace speaks of chaos breeding chaos.

Meanwhile, Chaka touches on police brutality and the fear of speaking out against it.

It’s illustrated with chaotic, distorted saxophone and juxtaposed sounds and textures.

A foreboding ambiance of computerised keys creeps in on the track ‘Wait for the Sound’, detailing the horrific conditions that lead people to become refugees.

Each song is full of emotion.

At times it does feel that the album lingers on a pessimistic tone for a few tracks too long, especially as the album nears the end.

But punk riffs clash with gospel sounds on final track Void, injecting the vigour and a sense of fightback with chants of “Got to find a way to get out of it, it can all fall”.

Algiers begin this decade with a note of optimism—“And it’s coming around, it’s opportunity”.


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Reviews
Tue 21 Jan 2020, 13:02 GMT
Issue No. 2688
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