BLOC PARTY ARE BACK!
On this very day (20th August), I am glad to pronounce the release of Bloc Party’s fourth studio album, creatively named…’Four’. But where the title is lacking and more fixated on the indie ideal of ‘hipster-originality’, the album is definitely more forthcoming in the creative department.
Bloc Party, for me, have forever been one of those bands that I have always liked and intended to sit down and listen to intensely…yet never have. So the news of this new release (at least for me) came as a welcoming opportunity and excuse to lock myself away and work my way through the entire back-catalogue, not just those few iconic tracks we all know to love. Even so, I never thought to find myself infatuated with their sound as much as I am, especially with ‘Four’.
‘Four’ as a fourth album keeps up with the typical expectations of those lucky enough to release this amount of music; there’s an inescapable sense of maturity (proved through a more sensitive vocal/lyric), a subtle yet noticeable change in songwriting style, and it’s so polished you could see your face in it. Which is just as well; keeping up their consistency of ‘face-value’ bluntness, ‘Four’ lyrics remain true to the band, and especially in ‘Truth’ and ‘The Healing’ beautifully honest. But between the blunt and the sensitive, there’s the clever light-heartedness of the lil snippets of jokes preciously inserted to cushion the heavy blows of more, dare-I-say, metallic tasting songs, particularly opening track ‘So He Begins To Lie’ which has an eerie familiarity to the alternative-metal sound of InMe.
If you’re not keen on hearing this news, do not fear! Tracks ‘Octopus’, ‘Real Talk’, ‘V.A.L.I.S’ not only tip their hats to original Bloc Party but throw them in the air in rejoice of their individual sound! Other tracks, such as ‘Coliseum’, give a new edge to the ‘Bloc’ you never thought you’d hear – in fact, when first listening to the track, with its delta-blues guitar intro, you would wonder whether it was an error on the CD. That is until you realise it’s purposeful as you’re flung head first to a sudden attack of heavy with a capital ‘H’, the experience completed with a screamo outro; ‘mesmerised but baffled’ is what I’m going for.
Usually, when I find myself listening to a fourth studio release, I find myself disappointed, either in the song quality, the lack of imagination or the excess of experimentation. Many bands seem to struggle with a fourth release, and the fatigue and ennui seeps through the speakers. But Bloc Party seem to have managed to walk the line between the original and new, keeping an unmissable sense of comfort and fun in the album and, as a result, keeping their sound fresh yet full to the brim with their roots. Other, more faithful fans may frown upon their little mix-up/mash-up of style in ‘Four’. Yet, personally, I find it energetic and an overall success!