Bloc Party - Four
- By Chris Jefferies -
- Aug 22, 2012
Back in June, Kele Okereke admitted that "there was a big question mark over whether Bloc Party were ever going to make a record again." Well two months later and it's a good thing that they stuck at it, because 'Four' is their most consistently brilliant album since 'Silent Alarm'. Produced by Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Mars Volta), this is an unashamedly heavyweight rock album that proves once and for all that guitar music still has a place in the British indie scene.
Bloc Party's last effort 'Intimacy' and Okereke's subsequent solo-project 'The Boxer' seemed to suggest that they believed otherwise. But right from the crunching riffs of 'So He Begins To Lie', to the grandstand Queens of the Stone Age-inspired closer 'We Are Not Good People', this record throbs with confidence in the decision to go back to their roots and become a guitar-based band once again.
Musically, 'Four' feels like the bravest album released so far this year, with plenty of gambles that almost all come off. '3X3' is a dark, twisted song of seduction, which has the urgency of Yourcodenameis:Milo in their pomp, while 'Octopus' is the perfect lead-off single for this album, highly unusual with its falsetto verses, but undeniably catchy and with a Daft Punk-esque guitar solo that ties it all together.
Fans of early Bloc Party won't be disappointed either, as 'Day Four' and 'Truth' hearken back to the wistful vulnerability of their sophomore record 'A Weekend In The City'.
'Real Talk' brings the tempo back down to a walking pace, and then we come to 'Kettling'. Arguably the album's highlight, this three-minute gem looks set to become a firm fan favourite, with the anthemic chorus 'The future's ours / we can feel it in our bones'.
Criticisms are tough to come by, but the chattering between tracks does grate a little, especially the smutty section that precedes 'Kettling'. This is only a slight tarnish, however.
Throughout this album, Russell Lissack provides the perfect foil for Okereke's beguiling vocals with some extravagant guitar solos, proving once and for all that he is one of the most inventive guitarists that this country has produced in the last ten years.
But for all this, it's hard to imagine where Bloc Party will go from here. Already bordering on festival headliner status, whether they have the desire to make the leap and become a stadium rock band is questionable. If they do eventually succumb to the self-doubt that nearly stopped this album from being recorded, then they will have gone out with one hell of a bang.
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