Customer Review

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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Comments

Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 20 Aug 2012 04:20:03 BDT
Steven C. says:
The Healing will grow on you and emerge as a favourite

Posted on 22 Aug 2012 19:06:37 BDT
blues 74 says:
finally they have returned to the sound i most enjoy . silent alarm still remains as one of my all time favourite albums off all time ( happy face)

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Aug 2012 19:19:22 BDT
Tom Belcher says:
Yeh, I was pleased they went back to a more rock-centred style. Silent Alarm was so unique I dont think anything will ever match it, but if they keep putting out albums like this I'll be more than happy (Y)

Posted on 24 Aug 2012 11:19:03 BDT
Stappo says:
Excellent and very thorough review. Shows that they've matured without getting too over indulgent like some bands when they get to this stage. Cheers.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Aug 2012 17:14:08 BDT
Steven C. says:
Nothing will ever match SILENT ALARM, true, but this album is extraordinary all the same, apart from some wince-worthy lyrics (see "Truth")... Otherwise, excellent

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Oct 2012 15:52:14 BDT
Jarvo0 says:
too true
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