Bloc Party – “Four”

We heard recently in London a few of the UK’s big bands perform such as Muse,  Arctic Monkeys, Beady Eye (No pun intended), and even The Spice Girls.  Although these big names have taken over the television screens across the world we must not forget about one of the few indie bands who changed the tones of music from the standard retro style of the mid 2000’s. Bloc Party has returned from their hiatus and has come to deliver their latest album entitled, “Four.”

The fans since then have grown up and the band has also grown with the fans and resembles the post-punk revival that they missed during the time they emerged on the scene with their first album in 2005, “Silent Alarm.” Not only have they grow up they have returned more to their roots reflecting some of their origins that they reflected in their first EP “Little Thoughts.”

In the track, ‘3×3’ the lyrics start off raspy and low similar to that of heavy metal bands but then ends in haunting whispering and screaming which does not suit the band. The vocals of the band fall short or replicating the actual infusion of metal with Bloc Party making the track feels like a type of tribute. This is scene throughout the album and brings a kind of unsteady fluidity to the album.

The hard rock skips a few tracks in the middle and closes out the album with the track “We Are Not Good People,” which attempts to replicate the hard rock and metal that we know.  It sounds similar to Queens of the Stone Age and even the Mars Volta. This should have been foreseen since the producer; Alex Newport shines through the tracks and gives the band the sound the world knows him for.  H has produced for Mars Volta and At The Drive-In as well as done some work for bands with the loud thrashing sound like The Melvins, Young Legionnaire, and many others.

Not all of the hard rock themes tracks of the album are unsuitable for this band, as we have heard some samples in previous albums. “Halo,” from their last album “Intimacy,” feels like the perfect mix of power rock and heavy guitar with synth, as the stepping stone for the tracks in this album. The best rendition which combines Bloc Party and the harder style of rock is the track “Team A,” which ends in an untamed guitar and adrenaline punch by the vocals saying, “I am going to Ruin Your Life.”

“Coliseum,” stands out the most starting off with a blues/folk intro sounding like a track from Beck except with a much more powerful riff as the song approaches the first minute mark. Then, combining the tracks silence to a powerful build by saying, “Pain is hopeful. Pain is holy. Pain is healthy. Pain is…..”

Although they have given us a different genre to listen to, as they have done in their last albums, they still resonate to their fans with deep and profound lyrics and song structure to make even some skeptics accept “Four,” as a true Bloc Party album. In the track, ‘Truth,’ we can hear the vocal hooks and emotions behind it saying, “I am yours now respectfully. I am yours now truthfully.” The song is not a complicated track but delivers what the band is known for, which is an emotional connection that the previous tracks fail to deliver on.

“Real Talk,” is another track which gives us the sensationalism of Bloc Party that was expected from this album.  During the second verse of the track there is an addition of a banjo which although not a standard instrument of this band, gives the track fluidity and allows it to remain true. The guitar sounds familiar and soothing with the vocal taking their place as more of an instrument.

“Octopus” was the first single from this album which reminds us of the way we remember Bloc Party as that indie band from London. This track was the sound that we expected to hear in this album which would make sense as to why it is the single, but it is truly not a good reflection of the album as a whole.  It has the moving of pedals we are used to hearing as well as gives the catchy lyrics and tone that we heard in, “Silent Alarm.”  “V.A.L.I.S” does a one up to “Octopus,” by being the track which we wish could be the essence behind this album. It is the radio friendly track from this album, and has all of the pieces which make is the best track on this album.

The hard rock tracks sound like anthems and tributes instead of original pieces.  When the band came out in 20005 with, “Silent Alarm,” the fad was the retro sound with bands like The Libertines and The Killers dominating the indie scene, while Bloc Party did their own piece. This revolutionized the standard of indie music and made the band stand out amongst the crowd. Perhaps, this album is a throwback to that time, doing what other bands of the time were doing, but this is to the dismay of the fans because the main reason to listening to the band is to not blend into the current musical norm. With that, the other tracks on the album are amazing and restore the faith that the band still has its potential after four years. This album is a must listen to, and although fans might not enjoy every track, most people will find at least one track on this album which will be their favourite and resonate even after the track has ended.

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