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If you like your Roc Arty...
on 16 February 2005
Another year, another band hyped to the heavens. Alex Kapranos's band took the world by storm last year, so it comes as no surprise that 2005's new hopefuls, Bloc Party, should be touted as the next "Franz". Certainly the Londoners have got the look- there's no mistaking Kele Okereke's grinning mug, nor Russell Lissack's so-indie-you-want-to-kill-him fringe. But do they pay off in the music stakes? Are they just another bunch of bland fashionista wagon jumpers, or maybe something halfway interesting?
First off it does 'Silent Alarm' no favours to compare it to 'Franz Ferdinand'. True, they start off somewhere similar, both brandishing Television and Gang of Four influences. But whilst Franz are off bopping in a disco, winking knowingly at the ladies (and guys), Bloc Party are more likely to be found staring out of a rain bruised window, trying to decide if they're angry or sad about the state of the world. Sure, 'Helicopter' swaggers with a bass line that's practically spitting with rage, but then 'This Modern Love' and 'Blue Light' are terrifically atmospheric and tense. Opener 'Like Eating Glass' sounds like a loose Interpol, and the terrifying closing track 'Compliments' could have fallen off the back of Kid A. Silent Alarm certainly isn't an immediate experience, which might explain the handful of poor reviews it's been getting. Give it time, guys! I still haven't got a feel for 'So Here We Are' or 'The Pioneers', it doesn't stop me listening and waiting for their charm to unfurl.
In the end, the album probably is a bit too long- things sag a bit in the middle, understandable given the terrific string of hits it opens with. But Silent Alarm is Marquee Moon crossed with OK Computer tearing chunks out of Turn On The Bright Lights. Surely that concept alone is enough?