no-cover

Bloc Party – [Album]

Like
268
0
Thursday, 16 August 2012

It’s been nearly four years since the London-based Bloc Party released an album together and, despite swirling rumors of falling outs (compounded by the release lead singer Kele Okereke’s solo album The Boxer in 2010), there was never an official Bloc Party breakup. While the band’s prolonged hiatus saw the ascension of groups who may share some of their aesthetic sensibilities – The Temper Trap, Passion Pit, Twin Shadow all appear on that list – it certainly didn’t change their sound. As the new album Four proves, Bloc Party is still Bloc Party.

At first, Four seems to start off where 2008’s Intimacy left off. There’s a dark and mildly angry sound on opening track “So He Begins To Lie,” but the new album is less electronically charged than Intimacy.

The guitar on “Real Talk” gives the track a Radiohead-ish quality, with its tender lyrics and Okereke’s vocals running into falsetto territory. The opening guitar line on “Coliseum” sounds borrowed from Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” although the guitar parts become more menacing and Okereke’s shouting more forceful as the song progresses. The rocker “Kettling” offers an air of destruction belied by optimistic lyrics: “we can feel it in our bones/ the future’s ours.”

The band is at their best when they’re able to zero in on that characteristic Bloc Party sound which features pulsating rhythms, elongated vocals, and poetic lyrics and has won the band a lot of fans over the last nine years. Here, the uptempo “Valis (Other Me),” with its repeated “show me” chorus, becomes infectious and the tender “Truth” is reminiscent of the band’s earlier hit “This Modern Love.” Okereke’s vocals work to define the band’s sound, and he dynamically belts lines like, “I’m going to ruin your life” on “Team A’s,” while pushing his voice into another range (one where The Temper Trap’s Dougy Mandagi also often sings) on the more mellow “The Healing.”

Although “Octopus” has been put forth as the first single on Four, the songs here aren’t as glistening or catchy as some of those from the bands previous three albums, overall. “Banquet,” “This Modern Love,” “Helicopter,” “I Still Remember,” and “Ion Square” are all reminders of how excellent Bloc Party songs can be. “Octopus,” with its moments of unrelenting guitar and shouted lyrics does feel enough like a return to the Bloc Party of Silent Alarm to remind listeners of the group’s origins, even if it isn’t likely to become a total breakout hit.

While Four doesn’t feel like it’s charting entirely new territory, it also doesn’t feel like it’s re-treading worn ground either. It feels like it belongs to Bloc Party’s catalogue, and that’s a sound which is good to hear again.

Artist:

www.blocparty.com/
www.myspace.com/blocparty
www.facebook.com/blocpartyofficial
www.twitter.com/BlocParty

Album:

Four will be released by Frenchkiss/EMI on August 21, 2012. Pre-order it here on Amazon .

no-cover

Bloc Party – [Album]

Like
0
0
Friday, 26 September 2008

After bursting onto the scene in 2005 with the danceable indie rock of Silent Alarm, Bloc Party ventured into new territory with a dark and introspective sophomore release, A Weekend In The City, and scored their biggest hit with the single “I Still Remember.” On Intimacy, the UK quartet preserves their original sound while fusing it with the darker writing from their second album. The result is a collection of strong, upbeat, listenable melodies that run the emotional gamut.

Led by singer Kele Okereke, Bloc Party’s work relies on three elements: vocal repetition, quick-paced guitar work and steady, danceable beats. “One Month Off” showcases these elements perfectly with its demanding beat and repeated phrases, finding Okereke shouting “If you need time” and “I can be as cruel as you / fighting lies with lies” over and over. “Trojan Horse” too features lyrics pointing to a love that’s gone sour paired with a grating guitar reminiscent of Silent Alarm’s “Banquet.”

Some tracks may be a bit of an acquired taste, namely the dark and menacing “Mercury.” Relying on horns and percussion and the repeated phrase “Mercury’s in retrograde,” the track gives the listener the image of a tarot card reading gone awry. “Zepherus” too has an odd sound, featuring Okereke’s vocals against a background of choral chanting, which you might not expect to hear outside a cathedral. It is Intimacy’s more mellow songs, the hopeful and guitar-heavy “Halo,” the tinkly and mournful “Signs” and the simple and repetitive “Biko” that make the disc sparkle.

The last song, “Ion Square,” may be the album’s highlight—serving as a both wistful and urgent meditation on love. The chorus borrows directly from the brilliant poet e. e. cummings with the line “I carry your heart with me / I carry it in my heart.” If you’re going to write a song about love, might as well borrow from the best. While it clocks in at over six and a half minutes, like with the best Bloc Party songs, the track makes you feel you’re being transported to another place.

Released digitally, with a hard CD release expected in October, Intimacy’s bonus feature is the track “Talons.” With partially shouted self-flagellating lyrics (“I have been wicked / I have been arrogant”), a lot of guitar work, and a focus on bells and beats, “Talons” works as a more polished version of tracks like “She’s Hearing Voices.” Intimacy serves as a summation and a step forward for Bloc Party—they’ve pushed themselves to write dark material with dance sensibilities—and the result is beautifully poetic.

Artist:
www.blocparty.com
www.myspace.com/blocparty

Download:
“Mercury” from Intimacy – [mp3]

Album:
Bloc Party – Intimacy is out October 28, 2008. Pre-order it on Amazon.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz