BLOC PARTY — Four
PETE WALSH finds new sounds on the herky-jerky Londoners’ new LP.
In their four-year absence from the music scene, Bloc Party have clearly been partaking in music-enhancing illicit substances. Whether it’s named after four years of silence, being their fourth album or being four times deeper and more complex than their last offering Intimacy, Four is the Bloc Party injection I’ve been missing.
While there’s a hint of that indie-rock pastiche the band pull off so well on the latter half of the album, it would seem they’ve been trawling the annals of ‘90s grunge for inspiration. That said, it seems Kele Okereke cannot constrain the tonal wanderlust of his incandescent vocal talents to the shackles of grungy drawl. Similarly, the riff composition of the single Octopus offers up the new, avant-garde musical direction that consumes the album. While some punters will be groaning at the mention of grunge, the band have definitely stamped it with their own brand of British indie — which they back up with characteristic BP tracks like Truth, The Healing and Mean. The arena rock stylistics of Coliseum and Kettling are the most impressive generic deviations by far.
With Four, the Londoners have produced a gargantuan, musically adept mutant that accentuates their talents in the realms of addictive and aseptic guitar work — from the manic strumming of 3×3 to Leaf Skeleton‘s melancholic wistfulness. The legions of Bloc Party faithful are guaranteed something old and something new: the perfect coalescence of breaking new ground without alienating fans.
PETE WALSH is an ex-Rave contributor and vagrant writer as well as a bit of a literati, music aficionado and coffee snob.