Algiers, The Underside of Power
When Algiers burst from the Atlanta scene in 2015, their debut album was dubbed “gospel punk” for mixing forceful riffs, call-and-response chants, and dissonant experiments. Politics take center stage on this second album, The Underside of Power
. Vocalist Franklin James Fisher is just the man to testify, with a sound suggesting equal parts Dennis Edwards of The Temptations and Stephen “Brer Rabbit” Brackett of Flobots. In powerful songs such as “Cry of the Martyrs” and the title track, Franklin sounds like he’s performing an exorcism on the White House, while his lyrics reference nearly a century of civil-rights struggles. Algiers’ adherence to experimentalism can dissipate the power at times, but what’s wrong with chaos in the style of Ought or Gang of Four, particularly when the liner notes are so strikingly Dadaist? It’s a pleasant surprise to see music this uncompromising get some recognition.
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