There’s something to be said for having an easily identifiable bad guy. The right-wing of American politics has known this for quite a while, leading to the proliferation of bumper stickers that proudly proclaim “Not A Liberal” as loudly as they might champion limited government or other conservative causes. There’s a joy to rallying together against a common enemy. When you’ve firmly established where the boogieman is hiding, you know where to focus your light.
That somewhat perverse happiness can be felt all over the new track from industrial gospel doomsayers Algiers. Where their self-titled debut wallowed in the wrongs of American history, recent events have allowed them to focus their rage. And it’s clear that the group are reveling in the sudden sense of community that antifascist activists and other leftists have felt since Donald Trump‘s rise. We wouldn’t go so far as to say they are happy, but “The Underside of Power” does have handclaps over the droning. It’s the sound of Doc Martens hitting the pavement with purpose.
Algiers frontman Franklin Fisher offered this explanation for the song and video, which scatters shot’s of civil rights activists throughout.
“I heard someone say once that you don’t know what real power is until you’re on the wrong side of it,” he said. “That was the inspiration for ‘The Underside of Power’ To be someone who has known first-hand, the full brunt of institutional force, 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.”
The clip is the first taste of the band’s sophomore effort of the same name. The Underside of Power is due out on June 23 via Matador Records. Pre-order it here.