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Disc review: Algiers, one of finest debut albums of 2015


Algiers, Algiers (Matador) What a mind-bending debut this is. Algiers is a trio whose members are from different countries, but the music the three men conjure sounds like a declaration of independence heralding the establishment of a country of their own. The raw materials here would seem to be wholly incongruous, but in the hands of singer Franklin James Fisher, guitarist Lee Tesche and bassist Ryan Mahan, gospel, post-punk, Afro-beat, and electro are neatly folded into a startlingly original mélange. Fisher’s roots are in the Black American Church, and his agile voice boasts more than a touch of gospel, a fact which serves to underscore the unrepentant incisiveness of his lyrics –Fisher is as on-point as Joe Strummer was with the Clash all those years ago, suggesting that not much has really changed in the time since. Sinister and ominous keyboard tonalities, electro-pop pulses, polyrhythms, and the taut, angular guitar figures redolent of the best British alternative rock from the 80s, all combine here in service of a deeply passionate and in-your-face new hybrid of sound, color and text. This could be the finest debut album to see release this year. 3 and ½ stars (Jeff Miers)

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