"I heard someone say once that you don't know what real power is until you're on the wrong side of it," Algiers' frontman, Franklin James Fisher tells NPR. The concept underpins Algiers' newest record and its title track, "The Underside of Power," the video for which we're premiering today.
As "someone who has known firsthand the full brunt of institutional force," Fisher says, "the feeling of being completely vulnerable to it and powerless against it, is a bitter reality for the vast majority of people. The image of an insect being squashed by a boot comes to mind. But with that image comes a slightly hopeful paradox; just as all systems have inherent flaws, so does the proverbial boot, which leaves the slight possibility for the insect to creep through and bite back... Through solidarity, your pain is my pain."
Guitarist Lee Teshce says over email that "both Ryan [Mahan, Algiers' bassist] and I had, unbeknownst to one another, been working on Clash-inspired, Northern Soul song sketches in the same key and tempo. Franklin [James Fisher] heard them, combined the best ideas, and then turned it into something special. Such an important song for us to have written as a band."
The music on this song and album is wildly intense, spanning the minimalism of Suicide, the inspirational sound of gospel, John Carpenter's lo-fi synth explorations and the post-punk of Public Image Limited.
The Underside of Power was produced by Adrian Utley (Portishead) and Ali Chant. The album is out June 23rd on Matador Records.