Stereo is nearly full by the time the stage is set for tonight's show with the band’s instruments and four red vertical strip lights. When the lights are dimmed, they provide a feeling both warm and menacing, something that the band will seek to also achieve in the performance of their songs.
Algiers, touring in support of new album There Is No Year, have been described as post-punk, gospel, soul and experimental noise. They are all and none of these. They manage an original trick of being neither a fusion nor a confusion of the various styles that they draw on. There is an amazing balance in transitions between the beats of a metallic Motown and the angry energetic protest of gospel punk. The lyrics are shot through with both dread and hope. Nothing here is meant to be wholly comfortable.
Lead singer Franklin Fisher’s voice soars then wails on ‘Dispossession’ backed by an almost dissonant chorus from the others. Bassist Ryan Mahan irregularly pops dance moves between keeping a throbbing industrial beat pulsing throughout the proceedings. A lead guitar is swapped for a free-jazz saxophone break. Yet, the set never loses its way. ‘Unoccupied’ is one highlight that gets all the crowd moving. It is a prime example of a great swinging beat that is undershot by industrial noise and '80s synthesizer power chords which the band craft into something both danceable and frightening in equal measure.
This is music for dislocated times. It has sing-a-long choruses and soul beats flipping into noise breaks and back again. The band have touched an essence of uncertainty in the modern world and the audience can be sure they have heard a bit of the broken truth of it tonight.