Bloc Party – Four album review

It’s Sunday 24 August 2008 and I’m sat in a field with 70,000 other welly clad, mud laden, laugh-in-the-face-of-sobriety types waiting to see Bloc Party live at Leeds Festival.
Previously I hadn’t known much of the band with the exception to a couple of their more acclaimed releases like ‘Modern Way’ and ‘Helicopter’.
So there I was there with an open mind and ears eagerly waiting to be impressed.

I can unfortunately report I never did catch the Bloc Party bug – so here we are today for a licit and in-depth reasoning as to why. Oh, and I’ll also discuss their new album, ‘Four’.

Bloc Party, for me, have always been renowned for their resonance of 80s successes like Joy Division and Sonic Youth, but that movement has unfortunately come to rest. Its revival may be for someone else’s doing.

The new album is a lot of what we’ve already heard from Bloc Party in the past. They’re sticking with the sound they’ve had from pretty much the off.

There are notably more bands this year that are dramatically changing their direction, i.e. Muse’s dub step movement or The xx going for a dirty underground kind of thing – maybe this is something BP should have discussed at a band rehearsal. Shoulda-coulda-woulda, I guess…
Punchy percussion and tremolo treble heavy guitar drowned in special fx line the perimeter of most tracks and I find myself waiting for a track to end, with a glimmer of hope for the next one being a little more creative.

There’s also this annoying thing they’ve decided to include in the album: little snippets of conversation like bookends at the intro and outro of some of the tracks. This is an excerpt from ‘Team A’: “The thing is… h-how do they know if it was a spider bite?
“Do you want me to look it up for you?” replies an unconcerned female voice.
“Yes, uh… yes please. A friend of mine at school once went to… when he came back from Africa…” etc. What’s going on there, Bloc Party?

My faith was restored briefly with ‘Truth’ – a well composed and unassuming track hidden towards the end of the album. The group of 30-somethings haven’t overcrowded it with their usual busy approach to music, and have instead stripped everything back to a straight up four piece soft rock track that holds a lot on its own – it echo’s slightly of Temper Trap and maybe a hint of Passion Pit. More like this please.

If you’re a diehard Bloc Party fanatic you’ve probably already tuned out, and have started swearing at your computer.
If you have made it this far I can report I’ve come to the decision that this band, aren’t all bad but they could certainly do with looking into some more tracks alike ‘Truth’.
They clearly host the competence to throw together a decent song, but they need to do it more often.

The published article will soon feature at Dead Press

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