There Is No Year
Imagine, if you will, a landscape that is simple but crushing in its portrayal of desolation – narrow alleyways, grimy streets, the clouds looming dark and heavy just overhead, all but completely blocking out the sun. From within this bleak reality, peering from behind crumbled doorways and walking out of the rubble a very small group of people unbroken by the desperation that surrounds them, fire in their eyes as they lift their gaze, filled with fury and determination, to the horizon. That is the landscape, or perhaps more accurately the soundscape that Algiers have constructed with There Is No Year. This is an album, true to the band’s past offerings, that is not for the idealistic nor the faint of heart – it will prove divisive and frustrating and compelling in equal measure but ultimately, what underpins it all is the most important of all ingredients in the delicate alchemical process of creating music that matters – urgency.
With their decision to surround all of their songs in darker layers of electronic instrumentation, the overall feeling of There Is No Year is one of distinct heaviness. Within that weight though is the unmistakeable urgency of lead singer Franklin James Fisher’s vocals and lyrics, which paint a picture sometimes just as bleak and dark, and others singularly focused on what is possible even when feeling like trading water in a sea of pessimism and anger is the best, or perhaps only, course of option. Darker than 2017’s exceptional The Underside of Power and perhaps less pointedly political, There Is No Year is an outstanding album that offers the listener the opportunity to step into a grim reality, but to do so feeling armed against that gloom, and desperate to be part of some or any change.
SPILL ALBUM REVIEW: ALGIERS – THERE IS NO YEAR