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Bloc Party- Intimacy- Album Review

Contributor:
Earl Ho
Earl Ho

The name of the album makes sense as you listen to the third offering from Bloc Party who have come a long way from their brilliant debut "Silent Alarm" in 2005. Yes the album is quite intimate; in terms of more heart felt, emotional, and introverted lyrics from lead vocalist and guitarist Kele, possibly reflecting his relationship break ups, however, obviously by no means is the music all cheesy slow ballads, (although there are ballads they are by no means cheesy), but the album contains an interesting mix of songs which merge different genres, styles, and sounds. Bloc Party's decision to have both Paul Epworth and Jacknife Lee (the former behind desk for "Silent Alarm" and the latter for "A Weekend in the City") working with them for half the album each is responsible for the varied sound of the album and you can definitely hear spirit of both silent alarm and a weekend in the city in the songs. 

 The trumpets and trombones of "Mercury" add great texture to what seems like Bloc Party's half hearted take on drum n bass, however, after a few listens of the song you can appreciate the minimalist approach they went for, opting  not to over layer the song with meaningless noise, until the end of course where it seems the horn players are on speed playing free jazz.

Bloc Party's decision to have both Paul Epworth and Jacknife Lee (the former behind desk for "Silent Alarm" and the latter for "A Weekend in the City") working with them for half the album each is responsible for the varied sound of the album and you can definitely hear spirit of both silent alarm and a weekend in the city in the songs. 

"Halo" is fast paced guitar driven song that wouldn't sound out of place in "Silent Alarm" with the dueling guitars reminiscent of Helicopter, and a very well written and executed instrumental bridge showing that they can still write extremely cool guitar riffs. "Biko" and "Signs" are the soft songs album and also are my highlights as they display great emotion and beautiful instrumentation, especially on the latter as they explore possibilities of guitar less instrumentation with the use marimbas, glockenspiels, and other percussion instruments. "Biko" builds slowly until a wonderful electronic beat manifests as well atmospheric guitar feedback into sparse pre- climax with just the electronic drum beat and Kele repeating, "your not doing this alone" and until it climaxes with Kele yelping "resist!" and with that welcoming a burst of fresh goosebumps. 

"Trojan Horse" is another highlight with another excellent guitar riff with a very interesting guitar tone which kind of sounds like the guitar sound is being squeezed through something tight filter, with some great lyrics, "You use to take your watch off, before we made love, you didn't want to share our time with anyone". The song progresses further into an amazing bloc party esque guitar solo which acts as more of a chorus because of it's great melody and it's repetition throughout the song.

Although there have been two different producers on the album the album's blend and structure is surprisingly well mended and flows quite nicely. This album may be disappointing to the die hard "Silent Alarm" fans expecting the slick and angular guitars, however, if they persist beyond their initial disappoint they may be pleasantly surprised at what Bloc Party have got to offer.

8/10

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