Bloc Party
Intimacy


2.5
average

Review

by The Katz brothers USER (183 Reviews)
August 25th, 2008 | 89 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bloc Party embrace electronics and a recent break-up, but still bore with another hit-or-miss effort.

On their previous two albums, Bloc Party were borderline robotic. On a song like Banquet , which was a fantastic debut single for a band looking to imitate Interpol’s rise to prominence, the drum and dual guitar interplay is so hopelessly angular and rigid, it seems as if it were programmed by a computer. The drummer in particular is a bit too “on the money” for his own good. But where Bloc Party were futuristic and inhuman in their tightness, they were shamelessly old-fashioned in their musical style, which ripped on Gang of Four and countless other Post-Punk bands from the 80’s, a la Interpol and Franz Ferdinand. Overall, the music was alright. It’s nothing you’d want to get caught dead by your cooler friends listening to, but it was pretty fun. It didn’t mean much. Early rumors had Bloc Party’s third release embracing electronics. Possibly Bloc Party were progressing on their quest to become machines? A digital release seemed to favor that hypothesis. Bloc Party gave their album to our computers before they gave it to us. A bias toward their own kind?

Yet, for some reason, Intimacy seems more human than its predecessors. Lead singer Kele Okereke (he’s black, if you didn’t know) has stated that this is a break-up album. Weezer’s Pinkerton is listed chief among their influences on MySpace. What the ***, Bloc Party? Similar to what Radiohead do with a track like Idioteque, as the music on Intimacy becomes more mechanic, the parts that aren’t (i.e. the vocals) seem much more vulnerable. Though Zephyrus , a late album highlight, features only electronic instrumentation, Okereke emotes in a way that he really hasn’t much before. His lyrics clearly detail a break-up (“Baby I’m ashamed of the things I put you through/Baby I’m ashamed of the man I was for you”), and when he’s singing them overtop synthesizer swells, and a dance-y drum machine beat, Okereke sounds like he’s genuinely pained. And the lyrics aren’t all as corny as the aforementioned one, though the unfortunate lines considerably outnumber the good ones. Still, when Okereke sings “And all you said, in your quietest voice was ‘I needed you as much as they do’” at the top of his voice it feels incredibly personal.

Biko , as well as a few others on Intimacy, is similar to Zephyrus because of its heavily electronic feel and exposed vocals. It’s a ballad of sorts, but still retains the propulsion that Bloc Party pride themselves on. Also like Zephyrus, it’s a good song. However, don’t get the wrong idea, not all of Intimacy is quite as successful as the aforementioned tracks. Ares sounds like a too-flamboyant, too-bad version of TV on the Radio, not unlike some tracks off Bloc Party’s 2nd release. On lead single Mercury Okereke’s vocal performance is just plain aggravating (glitched vocals during the chorus? Really?) but the song’s big drum beat and dissonant horns save it from being a totally bad song. It’s pretty catchy too. Another thing that shouldn’t be confused: The old Bloc Party hasn’t been completely forgotten about in this sea of textured guitar parts and synthesizers. Trojan Horse and Halo are both guitar-heavy rockers that would excite any mega-fan of Silent Alarm .

Intimacy , as an album, is hit-or-miss. Bloc Party have made what seems like a natural progression into a more electronic style, but have still retained key elements from their past records. Okereke’s lyrics clearly center on one single break up, but Intimacy is no Pinkerton. The lyrics are corny and simple too much of the time, and the music isn’t original or good enough to make this forgivable. Okereke is the center of attention, now that his band members have largely been replaced by machines, and most of the time he doesn’t deliver. In the end, Bloc Party was just never really that great of an “album band”. Just like their last two albums, Intimacy features some good tracks (here, mostly ballads) but really isn’t the kind of album that one wants to go back and listen to a whole bunch. That said, it’s better than A Weekend in the City , and shows potential. Maybe next time.

-Dan



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user ratings (507)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Fugue (4)
Bloc party are back with an intelligent, emotional album fusing electronic with their typical London...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2008


16089 Comments


Its not as awful as A Weekend in the City but its still boring as hell.

Mikesn
Emeritus
August 25th 2008


3709 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Just like their last two albums, Intimacy features some good tracks (here, mostly ballads) but really isn’t the kind of album that one wants to go back and listen to a whole bunch.
This, pretty much.

brandtweathers
August 25th 2008


2007 Comments


numerous spotlight babies break in and soon understand how ill-equipped they are to consistently produce quality
such an old story on repeat

McP3000
August 25th 2008


3941 Comments


bloc party sucks

silverleaves
August 25th 2008


438 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I actually didnt mind A Weekend in the City, but after listening Mercury I'm really not excited to hear this

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
August 25th 2008


4927 Comments


McP nice agoraphobic nosebleed avatar

marksellsuswallets
August 25th 2008


4848 Comments


This isn't as good as I hoped it would be
Helicopter still rocks though

SnackaryBinx
August 25th 2008


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't get why people didn't like Weekend in The City, maybe it's just me.

I also like this cd quite a bit also, I'll try and write my opinion on it later, but you know, WoW sort of eats my life.

McP3000
August 26th 2008


3941 Comments


[quote=isitluck?]McP nice agoraphobic nosebleed avatar[/quote]
haha yeah i know

sick album art, decent album. Nothing too special. This Message Edited On 08.26.08

AtavanHalen
August 26th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dammit, I was going to review this.
Really great job, though.

Captain North
August 26th 2008


6791 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^Why don't you? You think its great, he thinks its pretty crap. Contrasting reviews are good. I don't want only a review saying its shit on here, I love this record.

And...the review would be good if it wasn't for the fact that you insulted them for being ridiculously good at their instruments....

I'm mainly dissapointed with this because of the drums, the drummer was always the best in the band - his drumming was complex and interesting, but its mainly been taken over for electronic beats...which only REALLY work on Zephyrus and Better Than Heaven (the latter of which is my favourite on the album - you don't get much more true than 'you get sadder the smarter you get').

But I agree about Ares. (and I loved Weekend in the City)This Message Edited On 08.26.08

AtavanHalen
August 26th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Everyone seems to hate Ares. I honestly think it's one of the more exciting songs of this year.

Captain North
August 26th 2008


6791 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's just too...weird...for me. I like Bloc Party for their honesty, their brilliant lyrics and fabulous drumming. Ares has none of that.

AtavanHalen
August 26th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The drum beat is awesome as hell!

Captain North
August 26th 2008


6791 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I may not remember it properly, but what I remember is that the beat repeats the whole way through. Normally, the drumming goes off on different tangents, constantly changing. Which is what made it complex and interesting. Sure the beat in Ares is complex and interesting at first, but it gets stale, particularly when fitted with the shitting lyrics. C'mon "war war war war! I want to declare a war!" what REALLY annoys me is that that will stick in my head for the rest of the day. >.

Umb
August 26th 2008


6 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A hit or miss, as you said. I find it quite enjoyable at times.

robin
Emeritus
August 26th 2008


4257 Comments


big disappointment, but then i was still having hope over silent alarm. this isn't as bad as a weekend in the city, though.

gimo80
August 26th 2008


225 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I disagree - it's really interesting and experimental, plus the vocals are much more exciting this time round, especially on Ares. Better Than Heaven is face meltingly good too!
Great review though, but saaadly I have to disagree.

AtavanHalen
August 26th 2008


17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Better than Heaven is crack-like addictive.
Zephyrus is amazing too.

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
August 26th 2008


862 Comments


I doubt I'll check this out. Silent Alarm was decent but inconsistent, Weekend in the City was just flat out boring. As this one seems to be.



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