Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop Cyber Monday Deals Week in Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Kids Edition Shop Kindle Voyage Listen in Prime Shop now Shop now
Customer Review

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Dust off the Axe, Russell.", 20 Aug. 2012
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
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in


Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Aug 2012 08:59:14 BDT
Tom Belcher says:
Well researched review mate. I hope 'The Healing' does grow on me, may have to boost the albums rating if it does.

Posted on 21 Aug 2012 18:04:11 BDT
Daniel says:
Great review, loving the rock sound. 3x3 a personal favourite at the moment, but that's bound to change after some more listens!
‹ Previous 1 Next ›

Review Details



Location: San Francisco, CA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 118,987