Bloc Party – Four (Frenchkiss Records)
August 28, 2012 by Fran Jolley
The way Bloc Party’s sound has progressed over the years they should by now be Aphex Twin fronted by Kanye West. But after all the water has passed under the bridge between this year’s comeback album Four and 2007’s Intimacy we are looking at a very new beast indeed. Bloc Party have kicked out the samplers and turned up the guitars – 2012 for this quartet is when they get angry!
Not all of the fragments that created the stunning debut album ‘Silent Alarm’ are forgotten on Four; on current single ‘Octopus’ there is still Russell lissack’s spikey guitar lines and Kele Okerke’s striking vocals and bonkers lyrics, with some extra venom. But that’s not to say that they have made a metal album – far from it in fact. Four has no real thread to hold it together and feels like too many ideas going off in very different directions. It just doesn’t sound like an album where the band has sat down to decide how they want to sound. The harder tracks like the Muse-esque ‘Kettling’ and ‘We are not good people – which are as close to metal as they get – are surely not going to appeal to fans of the electric ‘Flux’, and when they aren’t rocking it to the core they just seem mediocre.
Long gone are the beautiful sentiments of ‘So Here We Are’ and ‘Sunday’, and other than ‘Truth’ – which should be retitled ‘I Still Remember part 2’ – they have lost their knack for writing a natural melody. However, there are brief glimpses of the classic Bloc Party sound and at least they’ve moved on from the failed electro mash of Intimacy.
This isn’t the album that we all hoped Bloc Party would be releasing when they eventually got back together. They used to sound so relevant; with ‘Four’ they seem to be taking yet another step back. Intimacy seemed like a token effort to appeal to Okereke. This album is trying to appease each member and just ends up alienating the audience and leaving the album feeling lost.