Before We Start
Hello there, Jonny here (I can has name?), I haven't seen any reviews of bands or music while on this site so I thought I would start. Any feedback about whether I should do any more of these, improve it or if I should just run away and never come back. Oh and I'm not sure the youtube links are working so simply search the songs on youtube and listen to them there, thanks.
Bloc Party are an English indie rock band, composed of Kele Okereke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Russell Lissack (lead guitar), Gordon Moakes (bass guitar, synths, backing vocals, glockenspiel), and Matt Tong (drums, backing vocals). Their brand of music is said to have been drawn from such bands as The Cure, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, and in their more recent work, Radiohead.
At least that is what Wikapedia tells me, upon writing this review I had no knowledge of the band, only the music. Which is what matters, right? So let's get on with that instead of faffing around with who is whom and what they do.
Early Career (Silent Alarm)
In 2005 Bloc Party released their debut album Silent Alarm. The album was critically acclaimed, voted Album of the Year by NME (not that winning on NME prise means much but, hey?), reached number 3 in the album charts and was shortly made platinum. The album consists of thrashy guitars and harsh vocals but there are glimpses of something great to come with clever vocal harmonies and compositioning. This is mostly shown by one of the albums singles Helicopter, but is also present in the rest of the album. This is the main thing about Bloc Party, they are definitely an album band and while this isn't shown at its finest in this particular album it is most evident later on.
For me the highlights of this album are not the two singles (Helicopter and Banquet), they didn't really hold my attention. The best songs in this album are the slower ones, most notably Blue Light and So Here We Are. In Blue Light the band are playing around with the build-up quality that they refine into an artwork in their other albums. So Here We Are is an excellent song, so excellent that I will provide a video for you ADD people to keep you reading. Actually to be honest reading while listening to this song is very difficult, it makes you so relaxed that you are incapable of doing anything properly (especially writing a review).
Relaxed yet? Good, lets move on.
Coming of Age (Weekend in the City)
I'm going to come clean, I like this album. I mean I reeeaaallyy like it, worryingly so. So my comments will be (just a tiny bit) biased.
In 2007 Bloc Party released their second album A Weekend In The City and this one surprised me. They had changed completely, where as some of their old songs sounded as though they could be from any band the new ones definitely had a Bloc Party 'ring' to them. This album only really had one single 'The Prayer' which did relatively well in the charts but not amazingly. The rest of the album was amazing, there is not one weak song. It ranges from the loud riffs of Hunting for Witches to the epic build up of SRXT.
As I have said before Bloc Party changed quite a lot for this album. They were no longer the four teenagers shouting about injustice from a garage but now a more mature group capable of excellence. They were no longer content to just follow the fleet of other bands that have gone before them but wanted to define their own music with its own rules. While the basic verse, bridge and chorus structure still remained they liked to have many variations of all of them. Trying not to sound emo here, this album felt like it really connected to me. The vocals of disappointment and regret are enhanced by some rather haunting guitar parts. That said the lyrics of this album are very clever (the tv told me how to suck and love nothing, and how to grow my hair long) and like to point out the difficulties of modern life.
If I were to pick out the best songs on this album I'd reckomend Kreuzberg (300 plays and counting) since it involves the build-up quality that makes this album brilliant. And also Uniform for the lyrics.
Bit of Hunting for Witches for you there. Anyway on to the last album
The adaquetly named..(Intimacy)
Bloc Party released their most recent album in August 2008 titled Intimacy. And at first I hated this album. Bloc Party had changed again from A Weekend In The City and I wasn't quite ready to move away from that album. So I didn't listen to it...
...until 6 months later when I stumble upon it after forgetting I owned it. And wow.. just wow.
Bloc Party are no longer slightly different, they defy the laws of popular indie music. No song done with only vocals and a drum machine should be good but Zepharus manages it. Now this album takes getting used to, which you can probably tell by the 6 months it took me. The one single 'Mercury' confused me when I first heard it but since then it is grown on me and now I think it's amazing.
There is a general rule with all music that music that takes you a few plays to like it will sound good to you for ages. This is most definitely true with the whole album, this is most definitely a work of genius (so much for a balanced review...). Anyone brave enough to dive into this album should listen to Talons first as that is probably the most mainstream song on the album and work your way from there. I see what Wikipedia means by relating this album to Radiohead, while they sound different listening to their albums has the same effect of bliss.
Wait... There's More (Biko)
Biko is a rather unknown song on Intimacy, so why am I giving it its own little bold heading? It's because I consider it to be one of the best songs ever written. It is 5:01 minutes of flowing tranquillity (don't judge me). I cannot describe this song so I will simply direct you to iTunes, where you should buy it.
All in All
Bloc Party are constantly overlooked as one of the pioneering bands of today, with their forth album just around the corner I would advise listening to their old albums before it is released (I don't really like what I've heard from the new album so I hope it will sound great in another half year). While I may come across as a bit of a fanatic, it is simply because the music has such a profound effect on me.
Looking back on this review it seems I haven't so much reviewed Bloc Party as advertised them, but I will put this up anyway as I think people should know about them. If I do this again I'll be sure to pick a band I don't worship. (Suggestions?)