Late last year Algiers released “Can the Sub_bass Speak?“, a standalone single that brought them well outside of their already complex yet defined aesthetic with something that sounded more like free-jazz Gil Scott-Heron. Vocalist Franklin Fisher delivers an epic airing of grievances via listing off the stereotypes or cringeworthy criticisms they’ve received (“You ain’t punk rock/You ain’t hip-hop—what is this?“). There’s nothing like that on the band’s new album There Is No Year, and “Sub_bass” would have, in context, not made sense among its eerier post-punk Blade Runner vibes.
One element of that song did find its way on to the album, however: A furious, skronky no-wave saxophone solo right at the center of album highlight “Chaka.” A synth-pop banger that carries ominous vibes with the press of each glowing synth key, “Chaka” feels like teleportation into a much sexier dystopia than the incredibly embarrassing one we currently face. Fisher, in keeping with that vibe, offers his own cryptic warnings: “You better change your tune, boy/Because you won’t believe the consequence.” But just as the tension mounts, in comes that saxophone, piercing the surface like a blade through canvas. It’s a truly beautiful noise.
From There Is No Year, out now via Matador.
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.