Friday, August 22, 2008

New Bloc Party

I have made no secret of my disdain (or perhaps apathy is a better word) for the last BLOC PARTY album " A Weekend in the City". Maybe it's because "Silent Alarm" was so good and so polished for a debut that I raised the bar on the band too high. Maybe it was that I had a poor digital download of the album which made the nuances harder to appreciate. Maybe the darker feel wasn't where I was at the time, but the whole album left me wanting more. Anyone can see these guys could very well be a great band and make great music for a long time. But with the surprise release of their third album "Intimacy" we might be seeing a full fledged band emerge with the kind of adventurous spirit of RADIOHEAD or U2.

"Intimacy" a record that is all over the place. The lead single, the horn and back beat infected "Mercury" recalls early CURE with it's cacophony of sounds and lyrical nonsense. "Ares" has the feel of an anti-war rant (still digesting the lyrics) when it suddenly softens in the middle. "Halo" could be a Silent Alarm outtake with it's driving guitar/bass combo. But it's when the band unleashes "Biko" that we see something totally different. Here the band writes the closest thing they have to a ballad but full of longing and suffering that makes it an extraordinary listen. The second half of the album has an anthemic feel of a band writing for arenas and large concert venues. Clearly the band has big ideas of it's mind for the immediate future.

"Intimacy" is not as fresh as the debut or a nuanced as the second album, but the entirety is a wonderful listening experience and the sign of a huge leap forward for the band. In a year full of great albums this one is in the running for top honors.

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