Algiers - The Underside of Power artwork

The Underside Of Power

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“With a video depicting the plotting of the revolution, Algiers tear through an evocation of what it’s like to be on the receiving end of vicious and misused institutional power. It also helps that it’s one hell of a tune. Listen up because we might be edging into song of the year territory, never mind song the week.”

– Under The Radar

“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.”

– NPR

“These new songs, are fantastic – running the gamut between funk basslines, rolling piano, hissing booms, insidious Vatican shadow rattles and BBC Radiophonic Workshop if they did goth ballads.”

– The Quietus

Franklin James Fisher:

vocals, backing vocals, guitar, bass, cello, double bass, piano, keys, sampling, wurlitzer, tambourine, percussion, drum programming,

Ryan Mahan:

bass, synths, baritone guitar, guitar, backing vocals, drum programming, samples

Lee Tesche:

guitar, prepared guitar, prepared piano, sax, harmonium, synth, music box, tape loops, electric cymbal, backing vocals

Matt Tong:

drums, guitar, glockenspiel, drones, chimes, backing vocals

Adrian Utley:

modular synths, moog bass, guitar, feedback, drum machine, backing vocals

Ali Chant:

backing vocals, guitar

Macks Faulkron:

guitar

Ashiya Eastwood:

backing vocals

Travis “ONO”:

Vocals

Jesse Upton Crowe:

backing vocals

 

Produced by Algiers, Ali Chant, and Adrian Utley
Additional production by Ben Greenberg
Engineered by Oli Jacobs, Patrick Phillips, Macks Faulkron, Chris Keyes, Alex Weston, Paul Reust, Ben Greenberg
Mixed by Randall Dunn at Avast! (Seattle), Mix assisted by Will Smith
Mastered by Jason Ward at Chicago Mastering Service
Recorded June-October 2016 at Real World (UK), Ade’s House (Bristol), REX Studios (London), Strange Weather (NYC), Figure 8 (NYC), Walker Studios (NYC), Argot Studio (NYC), Goat Farm (Atlanta)

WALK LIKE A PANTHER

“But when I leave you remember I said, with the last words on my lips, I am a revolutionary. And you’re going to have to keep on saying that. You’re going to have to say that I am a proletariat. I am the people. I’m not the pig. You’ve got to make a distinction. And the people are going to have to attack the pig.

But when I leave you remember I said, with the last words on my lips, I am a revolutionary.”

We won’t be led to slaughter
This is self-genocide
It’s the hand of the people that’s getting tenser now
And when we rise up…
I feel it coming down because

You lived your life in the sunshine
You bought your way out of Hell
You paid the toll with the souls of your people
Then you absconded to the tower up on the hill
Until way down in the valley
You heard a terrible sound
The killing noise that just followed you closer and closer
Until it found you out and read the charges that brought you down
You took the names of the masters
You burned your children for Baal
You sold your sons and your daughters for silver
And gave over everyone and everything for your will
You made a whore of the struggle
You made a joke of our shame
So this time we’re gonna break down the breakdown of meaning
This is a final execution
It’s our endgame

We won’t be led to slaughter
This is self-genocide
It’s the hand of the people that’s getting tenser now
And when we rise up…
I feel it coming down

When everything that was solid
Finally melts into air
And the champagne runs sour
Will we finally have your ear?
It should be murder for murder
For what you did to the cause
It should be straight retribution
But we’re your flesh and your blood
We’re your fate and your fortune
The promise you couldn’t keep
Reconcentration of power
The terror under the street
We are the fight for survival
The sum of all your defeat
The sum of all your betrayal
The love that you’d have to die just to feel

We won’t be led to slaughter
This is self-genocide
It’s the hand of the people that’s getting tenser now
And when we rise up…
I feel it coming down

“I’m not the pig”

CRY OF THE MARTYRS

With the world to win behind us
Our hands shorn for all to see
They’ll till the dirt with our bodies to remind us
Of our defeat at calvary
They’ll say our whole life is a locust
Disturbing their fractious peace
But it is they who mangle our horizons
Of our defeat at calvary

But I see the light
And I see the sea
Despite the future crashing down and closing around me
I got power over all my enemies
Listen to the martyrs cry for me

I see the light
And I see the sea
The sun is going down but it won’t ease the burning
I’ve seen it written on the other side of history
Listen to the martyrs cry for me

With the world to win behind us
Our hands shorn for all to see
They’ll till the dirt with our bodies to remind us
Of our defeat at calvary
They’ll say our whole life is a locust
Disturbing their fractious peace
But it is they who mangle our horizons
Of our defeat at calvary

There are histories of violence
Reduce our memories to silence
Repressing all the stories of the unsung and unseen
Listen to the martyrs cry for me

I see the light
And I see the sea
I’m ready for the spiral down
I’m waiting for perdition
But I can’t carry myself down to die in peace

Listen to the martyrs cry
With the world to win behind us
Our hands shorn for all to see
They’ll till the dirt with our bodies to remind us
Of our defeat at calvary
They’ll say our whole life is a locust
Disturbing their fractious peace
But it is they who mangle our horizons
Of our defeat at calvary

THE UNDERSIDE OF POWER

I’ve been stranded and paid to die on the side of the road
I’ve been shot just because my heart
I’ve lost the times I’ve been bought and sold
I’ve been the victim of golden eyes
I’ve seen the dead walk among the living

In division, what’s stripped away is made the same on the other side

Because I’ve seen the underside of power
It’s a game that can’t go on
It could break down any hour
I’ve seen their faces and I’ve known them all

Once I vanished to reappear as an object of love
I’ve been ripped from the inside out
And then delivered in the hands of the devil
I’ve been convicted of ancient crimes
And made to drift from Hell to treason

In division, what’s stripped away is made the same on the other side

Because I’ve seen the underside of power
It’s just a game that can’t go on
It could break down any hour
I’ve seen their faces and I’ve known them all

We’re on the wrong side of the power
It’s a shadow
It’s just a fire thrown across the wall

Hold on
Standfast
Stay strong
Change is coming on
One day a change is gonna come

Because I’ve seen the underside of power
It’s just a game that can’t go on
It could break down any hour
I’ve seen their faces and I’ve known them all

We’re on the wrong side of the power
It’s a shadow
It’s just a fire thrown across the wall

Because I’ve seen the underside of power
It’s just a game that can’t go on
It could break down any hour
I’ve seen their faces and I’ve known them all

DEATH MARCH

Oh no
On no, no, no
This can’t be how it all falls apart
Constant fear of explosion
Crypto-fascist contagion

Oh yeah
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah
They took no time to unwind it all
Manufactured suggestion
Wag the dog and then drown him

How hate keeps passing on
This is how the hate keeps passing on

Oh no
On no, no, no
This can’t be how it all whimpers out
Live to die in the gutter
Empty ivory towers

Oh yeah
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah
They pay no mind just to wind you up
Informed autosuggestion
State-sanctioned assassination

How hate keeps passing on
This is how the hate keeps passing on

How hate keeps passing on
This is how the hate keeps passing on

MME RIEUX

She always is standing on a ledge atop the landing
And we feign a smile because we’ve reached an understanding

Not to think or dwell on anything
Anything of import
Despite this precarious precipice

And our conversation drags from the slight to exegesis

And her voice begs for comfort
But I cannot resist
To lie about my relationship

My relationship with that word: Abstraction

Abstraction
Abstraction
Abstraction

CLEVELAND

I never saw your face but I can tell
you’re there and waiting at the Right Hand

Satan laughs but I swear
I can hear all the saints on their way down

Here come the Shirts in Brown and Black
With the flashing lights
They’re hiding
In different colors in the dead of night
They’re running Waller County, Texas where 4,000 died

And down in Jackson, Mississippi they don’t have to hide

But innocence is alive and it’s coming back one day

Here come the(m) boys in black and white
With the kerosene
It’s been the same evil power since in ‘63
They hang in Homewood, Alabama with the whitest sheets

And in Montgomery County, Maryland from a sapling tree

But innocence is alive and it’s coming back one day

I don’t think you’re gonna get away
With the Seal I can hear them singing

Kindra Chapman (we’re coming back)

Brother Andre Jones (we’re coming back)

Lennon Lacy (we’re coming back)

Sandra Bland (we’re coming back)

Roosevelt Pernell (we’re coming back)

Keith Warren (we’re coming back)

Alfred Wright (we’re coming back)

We’re coming back and any day now — it won’t be long…

The hand that brings the gavel down

is the hand that ties the noose
The hand that finds you behind
And ties the thirteen loops

But that hand is gonna fold
The day is coming soon
When we fill it full of dust and resurrect the truth

‘Cause innocence is alive and it’s coming back one day

ANIMALS

They used to wear the sign on the right hand side
But now they send you letters asking you to subscribe
So they can bow their heads while he hates so loud
And say, “You don’t say. No, you don’t say. You don’t say.”

Switching hands to show its freedom of choice
You better speak now before you confuse the voices

Don’t feed the animals, they’ll only take you in

They planted all the corpses on the side of the house
And now they act surprised that they’re beginning to sprout

And now the old man’s walking around and around

Screaming, “It’s my turn! Now it’s my turn! It’s MY turn!”

While he conspires with the pig who’s been ousted
They’re hoping that you never figure it out now
Don’t feed the animals, they’ll only come back again

They’re hiding in all the corners and the cracks of the culture

Then they stay there and hide until it’s just the right cult
Of personality to power and absorb all their shame
And say, “It’s OK now. It’s OK. It’s OK.”

And promises to send the problems away
So they can wash their hands when they discover the mass graves

Don’t feed the animals, they only feign innocence

They are the judge and jury once they’ve finally found you

Once they send out the skeletons to go out and round up
All the prophets and the powerless to put them on trial
Before they’re shot down. You get shot down. You’re shot down.

Or else they’re gonna try to get you to join them

But just don’t try to say that we didn’t warn you
Don’t feed the animals, you could become one of them

This is a final round up This is a heart attack

PLAGUE YEARS

So many hiding places
Sex workers on the ring line
No solution just glossy traces
I wear her hair to the Negro races

So many glossy faces

Stigma
My stigma black night into day
Payday barter false friend wasting away

Down hill shepherds fell crossroads betrayed

And in the blaze we onstage panic play

Wasting away.

HYMN FOR AN AVERAGE MAN

Somewhere down along the line I lost the plot

You think nothing has changed?
Horrified to find that what you made has risen up

And now your hate has a name

So let a sigh ring out

Denial. Deny it. Deny it.

Draw a cold hand across your mouth
A muffled sound
While you lie there and wait
Listen to them calling out and come for you in silence

For the mess that you have made

So let a sigh ring out Denial. Deny it. Deny it.

So let a sigh ring out Denial. Deny it. Deny it.

(Ignore their screaming. You got away with it.)

Nothing is opened up

No sound in the room

The Cycle/the Spiral: Time To Go Down Slowly

Oh sugar, I go lost inside it till there ain’t nothing to gain
I can’t stop going in and out of focus while you wait for the change
This is total war on a promise
Wail against the wall
No, it’s never over
And it never ends

We are the cycle that begins

We are the spiral to the end

We are the cycle that begins

We are the spiral to the end

Oh, baby I know how to die
I don’t know how to forgive
I cried out for power.

Someday I will find it

While you wait for the end
This is total war on a promise
Wail against the wall
No it never ends
It takes you over and over…

The cycle that begins
We are the spiral to the end

We are the cycle that begins

We are the spiral to the end

Until the second it’s over
That’s twice you died and you’ll die some more

Until the second it’s over
That’s twice you died and you’ll die some more

On the second it’s over
When He says it’s over

Time to go down now slowly
Time to go now, where everything’s lost

You’ll find Hell where you fought love

You’ll find Hell when it falls apart