Album Review: Algiers – The Underside of Power
With their unique sound blending aspects of gospel, industrial, and post-punk, Algiers return for their sophomore LP, The Underside of Power. The album is filled with constantly lurking keyboards, droning guitars, and distorted samples, all blending for a very disturbing sonic mood. Cutting through this intricately-crafted gloom are the fierce percussive arrangements, complements of new member Matt Tong. These arrangements mix programmed and live percussion makes for one of the most memorable aspects of the album, and gives this collection of songs a tribal, strangely catchy, and always interesting feel. Fortunately, when Algiers decide to lose the urgent rhythmically complex aspects present in most tracks, the desolate atmosphere still prevails, like on the surprisingly vulnerable piano song, “Mme Rieux”. The lower-intensity points are perfectly placed on the album, coming in just as Underside starts to lean on its textures more than its songwriting. Algiers show off both sides of this album on the haunting “Hymn for an Average Man”, beginning with solely piano and occasional sampling, as the track launches into perfectly controlled chaos. The Underside of Power is a great effort for Algiers, and a great album for experimental rock as a genre.
For Fans of: Xiu Xiu, Oxbow, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds