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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic but not revolutionary
After a three year hiatus Bloc Party have returned with their fourth album, imaginatively named...Four. Their first three efforts had all demonstrated different sides to the band. Silent Alarm was a fantastic and fresh take on indie-pop-rock; A Weekend In The City was far more progressive and moody; while Intimacy displayed Kele's bourgeoning love for electronic music...
Published on 20 Aug 2012 by Tom Belcher

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars good album but bad service
ive ordered this album off off amazon and it has not added onto my amazon music cloud player! i would like the album and compensation for the inconvenience as i did not have the album for my holiday! i am disapointed
Published 11 months ago by Nathan Elba


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic but not revolutionary, 20 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Four (Audio CD)
After a three year hiatus Bloc Party have returned with their fourth album, imaginatively named...Four. Their first three efforts had all demonstrated different sides to the band. Silent Alarm was a fantastic and fresh take on indie-pop-rock; A Weekend In The City was far more progressive and moody; while Intimacy displayed Kele's bourgeoning love for electronic music. This tradition of evolution begged the question of where Bloc Party would take their sound on their `come-back' LP. The answer is that it returns the band to its roots without a synth in sight, but what the album lacks in innovation, it more than makes up for in inspiration, proving that relying solely on two guitars, a bass, drums and vocals needn't be a restriction on creative output. The songs on Four are packed with enticing guitar lines, first single, `Octopus', being a great example. It is certainly the bands heaviest album to date, with songs like `Kettling' and `We Are Not Good People' utilising grunge-inspired riffs. Fans who have been craving a Silent Alarm part 2 will find more to enjoy here than on AWITC or Intimacy. `V.A.L.I.S.' is just a super catchy slab of indie pop and `Truth' comes complete with infectious sing-along `Ooo Ooo Ooooos'. Slower songs like `Real Talk', and especially `Day Four', flaunt Bloc Party's gentler side and are beautifully written, adding an extra element to the album without sacrificing its intensity. Lyrically it is not Kele's strongest offering and there are a couple of easily forgettable tracks (`Team A' and `The Healing') but as a whole, `Four' can sit proudly in Bloc Party's catalogue. It may not be ground-breaking, but musically it is undoubtedly very rewarding.

So He Begins To Lie (7.5/10)
A relatively interesting start to the album, one of the only songs that could have conceivably come off any of their three other albums. The riff is pretty catchy and sets a nice groove. It works well as first song, but isn't an album highlight.

3x3 (8.5/10)
Starts quietly but quickly, exploding in the chorus with Kele screaming over a high guitar line. If he's able to replicate the vocal performance live, swapping the whisper of the verses for the wails of the chorus, then it will be a stand-out song at gigs.

Octopus (8.0)
Lead single. The guitar riff at the beginning of this is one of the more experimental and exciting parts of the album, something quite different and interesting. Upon first listen it didn't seem catchy enough to be first single, but repeated listens display the chorus's deceptive ability to get stuck in your head.

Real Talk (9.0)
One of the slower tracks. It is very simple and stripped back. The simplicity is central to its charm though and lyrically it is one of the strongest efforts on Four.

Kettling (10.0)
Best song on the album. It is the heaviest song Bloc Party has ever written and begins with a really grungey riff which leads into a high guitar line in the verses as Kele discusses the 2011 riots. The chorus exclaims "We can feel it in our bones", and the song is a call-to-arms built to be sung to arenas.

Day Four (9.5)
The most poignant point of the album. It is dreamy, tender and mesmerising. The pace of the song allows time to breathe after `Kettling'. The outro is another album highlight as guitars and Kele's falsetto `Ahh Ahhs' drift across a simple drum beat which exquisitely builds into a quiet, but beautiful climax.

Coliseum (9.5)
The song starts with an unusually slow groove, reminiscent of `Grounds For Divorce' by Elbow. However, it then changes tempo completely and offers a stomping riff much more like an Arctic Monkeys number. The song then temporarily slows as Kele extols the virtues of pain, gradually quicken as he does so before returning to the heavy riff from the middle of the song. It is incredibly well worked and the unorthodox nature of the song structure gives it a unique energy.

V.A.L.I.S. (9.0)
A more straight forward number, it could be a lost song off Silent Alarm and has been tipped as a future single. The chorus repeats the line "Show, Show, Show, Show Me" generously and possibly a little too often, but it is so fun and catchy that this is easily forgiven.

Team A (6.5)
Not a great track, the opening guitar line is a less interesting take on the `Octopus' riff. The songs meanders through two verses without much incident and when the heavier part finals arrives and tries to spice things up, it's a bit late to really ignite the song which is unfortunate since the guitar solo in the bridge is actually pretty cool.

Truth (8.5)
Another more sensitive, quieter song. A stripped back verse sets the way for the bass and drums as the song slowly builds in what is another of the albums lyrical highs. The "Oooo Oooo Oooo" of the chorus also gives the track a real feel-good factor. It's like `Sunday' off AWITC, but with more of a smile.

The Healing (6.0)
The least impressive part of the album, it is a softer track but lacks the melody or catchy tune of the other mellow moments. This exposes the slower pace of the song as seemingly a bit lost and aimless.

We Are Not Good People (9.0)
Bloc Party's other three albums finished with something slow and thoughtful. Not Four. WANGP is a fantastic and frenetic blast of an album finale. With the aggression and chaos of a Biffy Clyro tune, the album closes with a heavy, rock bang.

Overall: 8/10
(If you liked my review please follow my music-based twitter page @2ndHandNoise . Thanks!)
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Dust off the Axe, Russell.", 20 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Four (Audio CD)
On May 31st of this year, Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke took to the internet. He began by apologizing for two not-very-funny jokes that had come in the months since Christmas 2010. One had suggested that he was booted from the band, and another suggested that an aging ex-Pearl Jam drummer had replaced mainstay Matt Tong. Neither of these hoax attempts were true - nor were they necessary. After the tour supporting their last album, 2008's Intimacy, Bloc Party found themselves at a creative standstill. Okereke thought the timing was right to "make a record that excites people in the clubs like M.I.A.'s XR2," as he put it. With a solo album and a dubstep EP behind him, Okereke explained that Bloc Party were indeed back together and had, in fact, just wrapped up recording their best record to date at Stratosphere Sound Studios in Manhattan.

Bloc Party has a strong following comprised of two types of fans: there are fans that embrace their constant evolution and fans that want them to record Silent Alarm over and over and over again. After listening to Four - an album Okereke says got its title not because it was the band`s fourth album, but rather because it was a raw sound of four guys playing in room together - this record will both satisfy fans from both camps, and alienate some fans from both camps. Interested in always evolving, Bloc Party ditched both of their former producers, Jackknife Lee and Paul Epworth, and recruited producer Alex Newport of Mars Volta fame. Newport suggested that Bloc Party make a record the old-fashioned way: no ProTools, no layering, no over-synthesized effects. The outcome is a record that, at times, rocks harder than anything that the band has ever done.

The lead single, "Octopus," finds the band renewed and revitalized. It's energetic, aggressive, and incredibly inventive. The guitar recalls one of guitarist Russell Lissack's heroes, Graham Coxon of Blur (see "On Your Own" from Blur's 1997 eponymous album). With that said, "Octopus" is really no indication of what was to come. Apart from this single and a similarly styled track called "Team A," you can hardly hear the influences that had littered their first three albums (Suede, The Cure, Blur, and The Smiths). Also, you get the sense that Kele has the danceclub electronics completely out of his system and that he's given Russell the key to the closet where he had his guitar locked up for more than four years. In fact, their last single before the hiatus, "One More Chance," now sounds like a different band.

The album showcases Russell's guitar - and an influence that may remind one of Deftones' White Pony (see "Kettling" and "3x3") . Matt Tong's explosive drumming returns to the fore. Interestingly, Kele has dumbed down his lyrics quite a bit for this record in a purposeful way, similar to what one of his idols Brett Anderson did when writing Suede's 1996 album Coming Up. Along with less meaningful, less heartbreaking and personal lyrical content, many songs show a more subdued vocal. That works here because the purpose of this record is to showcase all four members (all masters of their craft) not just Kele. This record is about a rock guitar that, in parts, may shock Bloc Party's fan base.

But make no mistake: this does not sound anything like Silent Alarm. If you were hoping to bounce along to a "Helicopter" sound-alike, you're not going to get that. Instead, you get songs like "Kettling," their hardest rocking track to date. It rocks so hard, it almost cannot even be classified as alternative rock - though it does seem to have a bass structure very similar to "Bulls on Parade" from Rage Against the Machine. This is one the record's standout tracks that finds Okereke aggressively belting out, "We smash the window! Popo don't ---- around!", telling the story of the recent riots in London - through the eyes of the rioter. Other glimpses of rock guitar can be found on the tracks "Coliseum" and "We Are Not Good People." While you do get glimpses of A Weekend In the City-era Bloc Party on tracks like "Day Four", the splendid and melodic "The Healing, and "Truth," and unfortunately get some less immediate songs like on the record's most personal track "Real Talk," this album, while often showcasing varying styles, is cohesive and reiterates Bloc Party's legacy of constant evolution. But instead of defining evolution as pretentious, oft-unlistenable electronic noise (ahem, King of Limbs), they define it as showing the world they can often rock as hard as anyone - and at times even harder than Silent Alarm. It's a very strong return effort. Is it Bloc Party's best record? I'm not quite ready to give it such a crown just yet, especially with Silent Alarm in their back catalogue, but I will confirm this: I've scanned Four`s deluxe edition from front-to-back seventeen times now, and curiously, Kele never says the word "cruel" once.

4 out of 5
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four is a solid album with forgivable weaknesses for fans old and new, 19 Aug 2014
By 
indieisnotagenre (Berlin, Deutschland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Four (Audio CD)
Initial fan responses were mixed when the album leaked two weeks before its set release. People wrote that Four wasn’t the Bloc Party they knew anymore. People said the same when A Weekend In The City (2007) came out, which was much more radio friendly and less anxious then their debut Silent Alarm (2005). Intimacy took yet another route and had the band experiment with electronic music and turned out to be their worst commercially received album (that said it gained a rating of 69 on metacritic while Weekend only had 65).

I always appreciated all three albums in their own right. It probably helped that I first heard of them when Weekend came out and then went back to Silent Alarm. These changes in style really are one of the things making the band so special and stand out from all those other indie bands who release the same album every year trying to live up to their first.

In a nutshell: Four is an album that should please fans of Silent Alarm the most. It is a lot heavier and more guitar driven than their second and third albums (So He Begins To Lie, Coliseum, We Are Not Good People). Lyrically the album expresses some of that anxiety that I loved so much about their early material as Kele whispers “no one loves you” and then nearly shouts “as much as us” (3×3, which I find hard to listen to) or repeats the words “I’m gonna ruin your life” on Team A (someone’s been watching Pretty Little Liars, I suppose).

Octopus recalls the staccato type lyrics we remember all too well from Helicopter. Octopus, besides its setting in a major key, is actually a song about a school shooting and Kettling reflects on last year’s London riots. The latter is actually one of my favourites, a guitar driven rock song that reminds me of The Smashing Pumpkins in their heyday.

Real Talk is slow and repetitive and probably the weakest song on the album. Day Four shows once more that Bloc Party write rather good ballads (I Still Remember, This Modern Love) – the same applies to Truth. Coliseum opens with a blues rock riff and culminates in heavy guitars and shouts – quite an unusual and yet exciting Bloc Party song – while V.A.L.I.S. takes you back to Weekend days. The Healing is another ballad which unfortunately falls behind the other two.

All in all Bloc Party are definitely back and all members get to play their instruments agin. Four is a solid album with forgivable weaknesses for fans old and new. I’ll give it four out of five (pun intended).

indieisnotagenre.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Is Four the magic number after all?, 30 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Four (Audio CD)
Sticking my neck out here I have to confess to really liking Bloc Party's 'electronic phase' showcased on third album Intimacy, but I also find their constant drive to produce different sounding albums extremely refreshing, and therefore it's great to hear some proper rocking (Kettling/Coliseum) and more conventional guitar-based pop (Day Four), alongside more recognisable BP tunes such as Real Talk and 3x3. As other reviewers have commented, this album is quite hard to pin down, even after several listens, but it certainly shows a band at ease with themselves; both lyrically and musically, and willing to forge a sound that may alienate some fans but will assuredly move them along creatively and win many more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind-blowingly brilliant!!!, 28 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Four (MP3 Download)
This is an absolute beauty. All of the things that have made Bloc Party such an original and impressive band for several years are all raised a notch on this outstanding latest offering. The drumming and basslines are laden with hooks and take you on all sorts of magical journeys. The guitar parts weave and crunch with beautiful brilliance. The harmonies add space and texture. Kele's social stories are compelling and the emotional songs are full of absolute beauty. This is a must-have and it is crazily stunning value at £2.99 - buy it NOW and let this album remind you how exciting, distracting and enjoyable music can be!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A diverse, energetic and poignant return from Bloc Party, 26 Aug 2012
This review is from: Four (Audio CD)
After a long hiatus there was a lot riding on this album for Bloc Party's rep as one of Britain's best Indie bands.
While perhaps the vision and ambition was there in their previous album (Intimacy), the song writing was poor and the songs often seemed cluttered. Four has no such problems. The songs vary between two extremes: heavy as hell balls to the wall fast paced short, snappy tunes (about as heavy as you can get without bringing in double kickers, start talking about the devil and ending lines with "NGHYEAAAAUUUUHHH" Hetfield style), and mellow, emotional and ethereal ballads This Modern Love style. The songs that fall in between the two extremes are the weaker tracks, but are by no means bad. Kele's voice has improved; something he showcases on tracks like 3x3, Day Four and The Healing. Four's lyrics are lightly political as they have occasionally been on other albums, but are mainly focused on difficult relationships and emotions.

I'd give this album a 9/10. Not sure if it is better than their first two albums, but it is definitely close.

For me, the standout tracks are- Day Four, Team A, The Healing and We Are Not Good People.

On a side note, the track on the bonus album 'Leaf Skeleton' is absolutely excellent. In the same way that the Silent Alarm (Bonus tracks) edition was worth buying just for Two More Years, the bonus track edition of Four is worth buying just for Leaf Skeleton.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply awesome, 25 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Four (Audio CD)
I really struggled with Intimacy to start with - couldn't understand what the fuss was about - a slow burner that eventually I loved. So, was cautious about this one, hearing some of the reviews, as it was a change again. But I love it. 3X3, Octopus and Real Talk just superb. Kele's voice is simply awesome.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Think I'm In Love...Again., 20 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Four (Audio CD)
It has been a painful 4 year wait for me, but they have finally returned, and with an album that is truly superb, by album four (quite literally) and a wailing change from album to album they have previously made, you would be forgiven in thinking they may have lost there way, on this album more so than ever. Instead they have made something quite unique once again, yet with so much to love.

Silent Alarm was fantastically, yet exclusively fitting of the Indie Rock stereotype. With guitar led songs being counteracted with soft atmospheric ones. AWITC was far more foreboding, with melancholic riffs throughout, underpinned with haunting chants and audio samples. Intimacy (my personal favorite) was an insanely large change, opting this time for incredibly intense electronics and brass sections, with soaring vocals from Kele singeing your ears from the off.

Four's more reflective songs are reminiscent of Silent Alarm, maybe even AWITC, whereas its rock n' roll highs can be separated from there other albums completely, showing thunderous grungy guitar riffs and tempered drumming not seen before on a BP record. Therefore each in turn, their four albums show a different side. Whether its thrashing Indie Rock, melancholic Blues, perplexing Indie Dance or in this case, hectic Rock n' Roll, they continue to do it very well.

I think Bloc Party fans should be pleased with this album, although those not familiar with the band would appreciate it just as much, It is a monument to all there hard work to produce it and I highly recommend purchasing it. Kele's vocals fit well within the boundaries of the songs this time around whilst each member of the band has a stake in every songs output. Much of the experimental energy comes in the form of instrumental this time around, whereas Intimacy used the vocalist as a projectile into the face of the consumer, one in which I loved, but could also see why many others didn't. This therefore makes the album far more agreeable to their previous record. If you like alternative rock in any form, this record will undoubtedly be for you, if you give it a chance at least.

Song-by-Song Rating (previous reviewer reviewed each song amazingly, I feel no need to expand on those descriptions in detail since I mostly agree).

So He Begins To Lie: 8/10 - Catchy opening, this song eliminated any fears I may have had about this album.

3x3: 9/10 - The whisper/wailing combination makes such a great contrast. I adore this one.

Octopus: 7/10 - Guitar riff is catchy, sure its a simple song, but it works. A safe but good first single.

Real Talk: 7/10 - I really love how this song opens, up until midpoint. Although it loses its a way a little.

Kettling: 9/10 - Heavy and hectic, this song refuses to be ignored. Rivals the experimental mayhem of Biffy Clyro's 'That Golden Rule'.

Day Four: 8/10 - A beautiful song, perhaps not an innovative as some of the album since its similar to older works, but this makes it no less worthy.

Coliseum: 9/10 - Heavy boisterous guitar riff that is catchy and unique for BP. I wish this song was longer!

V.A.L.I.S: 8/10 - The instruments back off a bit, Kele's vocals really shine on this song, it is very catchy.

Team A: 6/10 - Slightly forgettable since it fails to peak, although it begins with a lot of promise, that said, it is by no means a bad song.

Truth: 8/10 - Another more reflective song, but unlike Day Four, has more vocal presence, yet another enjoyable number.

The Healing: 7/10 - Quite soothing and reflective. I enjoy that unlike many albums, this doesn't feel like a back end filler, but rather more of a necessity.

We Are Not Good People: 9/10 - An unexpected yet fantastic ending, which is packed with power for a frenzied climax, instead of a weeping descent. Strays away from the typical and does it well.

Although the overall mean song rating would probably be about 8 from the above ratings, the sheer consistency of the album as a whole makes way for a 9/10, from my perspective at least! So, as a final statement: BUY THIS ALBUM!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Present for daughter, 14 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Four (Audio CD)
Given as a birthday present, it is mostly played "In Betweeners" style in a tiny bright yellow fiat at some speed!
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1.0 out of 5 stars good album but bad service, 24 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Four (MP3 Download)
ive ordered this album off off amazon and it has not added onto my amazon music cloud player! i would like the album and compensation for the inconvenience as i did not have the album for my holiday! i am disapointed
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Four by Bloc Party (Audio CD - 2012)
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