Music Reviews
There Is No Year

Algiers There Is No Year

(Matador) Rating - 5/10

At the end of last Summer, Algiers’ teaser single Can The Sub_Bass Speak served as a not-so-gentle reminder that Franklin James Fisher and company still have plenty to get off their collective chest. The epithets, indignities, and critiques hurled their way in the wake of 2017’s The Underside Of Power, and the ensuing tour seemed to have only fanned the flames that were already crackling. If Sub_Bass was intended to whip up a frenzy of anticipation of what was to follow, There Is No Year arrives with not much more than a whimper.

Though the album has an appropriately doom-y overtone, the middle of the album in particular, from Losing Is Ours to Repeating Night, is a slog to get through. The fractured dance floor beats and “ooh ahh” background vocals of Chaka are a particular low. Fisher doesn’t sound as invested as he was on the prior album and the clattering synths and disembodied piano notes don’t carry the same level of dread. The album’s opening line (“Well, it’s two minutes to midnight”) doesn’t exactly get the synapses firing, either.

There are a few highlights worth pointing out that primarily succeed on the strength of Fisher’s vocals. The already released single, Dispossession, with its promise of a “technicolor antidote,” is a worthy addition to the band’s catalog. And the soulful turn that Fisher takes on We Can’t Be Found sets it well apart from most of what is here and provides a glimmer of hope near the album’s end.

Perhaps it's not fair to judge There Is No Year alongside the fiery peak of The Underside of Power, but without the prior album to point to, it would hardly warrant repeat listens to try and find a spark. Whether it’s the grayscale production at the hands of Randall Dunn (Sunn O)))) and Ben Greenberg (Zs, The Men) that plagues the middle of the album or a seeming lack of enthusiasm on behalf of the band, There Is No Year is one of the most disappointing follow-ups in recent memory. Knowing the group is capable of much more gives hope for a re-energized effort in their future.