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What do you get when you cross Southern Gothic-tinged gospel music with the immediacy of racially fuelled, Communist-imbued punk? Until recently, there likely was not an answer to this question, you had your choice of one or the other. Enter Algiers. Born out of the strenuous racial and political divides of the American South, this biracial trio has made swift strides toward sending their highly political music into the mainstream, including signing with Matador Records and touring with Interpol. But with the release of their self-titled debut, written before the recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, the group has proven that their message and voice is not merely of the moment, but deeply rooted in history and culture.

Algiers begins with a droning synthesizer, a "stomp, stomp, clap" beat and the bellowing voices of a soulful gang, evoking the days of chain gangs roaming the dusty roads of the Deep South under the watchful eye of a gun-toting overseer. When vocalist and guitarist Franklin James Fisher enters the picture, powerfully crooning "and the chained man sang in a sigh, 'I feel like going home,'" the spirits of Nina Simone and the Bad Brain's H.R. seem to swirl as Fisher draws the best of soul, gospel and punk under one roof. This track, 'Remains,' is the optimal mission statement for the rest of the album to operate under.

Though Algiers has their roots in the Southern culture and tradition, the group completed the record by emailing bits and pieces of the songs back and forth to one another. At the time, guitarist Lee Tesche and bassist Ryan Mahan were based in London and Fisher in New York. Considering the difficulty some groups have had with constructing moving their work past the rough draft stage, the group's achievement in creating eleven powerful, emotional, atmospheric tracks cannot be understated. Mahan's rhythm section sets the foundation for Tesche's squealing, sparking guitar and Fisher's soulful croon. It is a formula that is experimented with throughout the whole record, but never enough to disrupt the record's formidable flow.

The group's music is fiercely intellectual, as Fisher's lyricism strays away from platitudes or bromides and instead pulls from an existential fury inspired by race. But it is this emotionality, the ferocity of punk and the resolve of gospel, that buoys Algiers. And as a biracial band that has put race at the forefront of their music, Algiers is seeking to present an oft-ignored or unfamiliar narrative to the majority white audience of indie music.

While gospel and punk seem to be inherently at odds with one another, Algiers has beautifully and powerfully illustrated that they share much in common. They provide voices and support to the dispossessed and the oppressed. They are styles for the people, by the people. And, most importantly, they can be packed to the brim with the thoughts and feelings of a whole collection of people. For Algiers, it is this ability to connect with hearts and minds that ultimately makes their record among 2015's strongest thus far.

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