fri 19/07/2024

CD: Bloc Party – Four | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Bloc Party – Four

CD: Bloc Party – Four

Sensible yet scratchy guitar heroes reconvene, but are they wiser or just older?

He's still Kele from the Bloc. Kele Okereke and co rekindle the old magic

Bloc Party's fourth album comes after a lengthy break during which various members did various things with varying degrees of success. Most notably vocalist Kele Okereke pursued a more synth-based, dance-flavoured direction with mixed results. There was no messy fallout so it is no surprise to see these nice, polite chaps back together again.

What would be really nice, however, would be if they had taken a leaf out of Britrock contemporaries Maccabees' book and shown some red-blooded beefy maturity this time round.

Four is a terrific, traffic-stopping album. But only if you are already a Bloc Party fan and particularly if you are a fan of their early, itchy work. All the constituent elements are present and correct from their past. Russell Lissack's juddery, post-Gang of Four guitar slices and dices through the melody and is particularly effective on the opening track "So He Begins to Lie" and "Octopus". Drummer Matt Tong’s rhythms gets under your skin and bassist Gordon Moakes anchors the sound with utter conviction. Okereke's vocals are as gentle-yet-muscular as ever, exerting a delicate authority over proceedings. All catnip for college kids.

But there is still something missing. It is both a plus and a minus that it feels as if the quartet has never been away. The slightly earnest, romantic lyrics do not shed much light on the missing years, except on "Kettling", where they tangentally address the riots of 2011, with Okereke singing "The future's ours... we can feel it in our bones". A nice sentiment, but if the band is going to be world-conquering they are going to have to up their game more than this. Despite a break that should have reinvigorated them, Four suggests a mild but not incurable case of creative bloc(k).

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Watch Bloc Party perform "Octopus"

Okereke's vocals are gentle yet muscular, exerting a delicate authority over proceedings


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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