Post-punk blues rock act Algiers try their hand with synth-pop and release their most underwhelming album to date on "There Is No Year."
By Gavin Majeski
"There Is No Year" is the third album by Atlanta, Ga. band, Algiers. their previous 2017 album, "The Underside of Power," received widespread critical praise for its social commentary and blend of noise and blues rock. Tracks were diverse with the opener, "Walk Like a Panther" featuring a booming trap base, abrasive guitar riffs on "Animal," and a few slower instrumental tracks adding to the album’s atmosphere.
"There Is No Year" contains none of what made "The Underside of Power" such an interesting album. The sound palette established in their previous record has been thrown out for an experimentation in synth-pop. Unfortunately for the band, synth-pop is a route that doesn’t compliment their sound and hinders the vast majority of songs on the record. The primary offender of this is the track, "Chaka," which sounds like an overdone 80s cliche. The synth instrumentation and higher vocal inflection from lead singer Franklin James Fisher is a grading combination. From there you have the skeletal instrumental from, "Wait For The Sound," a track that drags on for far too long even though it’s just over four-minutes in length.
Every once in a while you do have a few highlights, primarily the opener, "There Is No Year" and the closer, "Void." Both feature the same energy and in-your-face production that made Algiers sophomore album so strong. These two tracks were built off the foundation of the previous album and fantastically blend synthesizers and organic instrumentation. Excluding the previously mentioned highlights and poor tracks, you have the remainder of an album that molds together into a group of mediocrity. The instrumentation feels stagnant and the vocal performance is underwhelming, creating lackluster songs that aren’t memorable. One can respect the band for trying their hand with something new, but in this case it looks like Algiers should have stuck with the motto, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Favorite Tracks: There Is No Year, Dispossession, Unoccupied, Void