Friday, October 03, 2008

Bloc Party, Intimacy

A review

Meditations on a society that doesn't stop changing. It's the underlying lyrical element behind Bloc Party's third album Intimacy. But whereas it may be more introspective lyrically (including what sounds like the details of a break-up), it also signals a return to the danceable new wave formula of their debut Silent Alarm, featuring both guitar and synth hooks on top of intense and jittery layers.

In the meantime, Bloc Party seem to have matured and realised their full potential. They have the unusual quality of being one of today's few bands with a sound of their own - one that you could spot from a mile. If anything, it's become a template for many of their contemporaries. But unlike most of them, Bloc Party have also shown quite a prolific vein. Intimacy is their third album since 2005. Franz Ferdinand are still thinking about what to do next. Less impressive, however, is the CD artwork. Not that it doesn't look great, but there's the sneaking suspicion they may have had a peek and a half at Suede's debut album.

Just looking at the track-listing, it's quite clear that Kele Okereke couldn't care less about allegations of self-indulgence and intellectual posturing (think of unorthodox titles like Ares, Mercury and Zephyrus). His priority is to bring back passion and heartfelt music to an indie scene that just can't be arsed. After the dance experiments of single Mercury wrongfooted critics and fans alike, Bloc Party return to the glory days of Banquet with the pure adrenalin of Trojan Horse and Halo. Then there are Signs and the beautiful Biko, moody, delicate and introspective, while One Month Off and Zephyrus are like a journey back to the early days of electronica. If Bloc Party never took your fancy before, Intimacy may be the perfect christening.
[Intimacy is out now on Wichita UK]

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