Bloc Party
Intimacy


4.0
excellent

Review

by Fugue USER (58 Reviews)
October 27th, 2008 | 188 replies | 16,714 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bloc party are back with an intelligent, emotional album fusing electronic with their typical London indie influences to create an enjoyable listening experience.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Bloc Party are back in terrific style. The British foursome have improved hugely since the disappointing A Weekend In The City and are now starting to show some of the huge promise lauded over them for their debut Silent Alarm . However, this album is a step into uncharted waters for the band, whose electronical presence has always been felt, albeit as synths underneath the main music. Not so with Intimacy, an album where the electronica takes centre stage, and shines from the word go.

The chaotic Ares opens the album with Okereke shrieking "War, war, war, war, I want to declare war", immediately grasping the listener by the metaphorical scruff of the neck, and pulling them into a calculated, digital listening experience, blatant enough for the catchy riffs to assert themselves to your short-term memory, but at the same time subtle enough to warrant more attention than the average Brit indie release. The new found brashness of the music is typified by the next track and first single Mercury. The huge drum beat in conjunction with the glitched vocal chorus is very catchy, and although on a single listen may annoy, becomes instantly recognisable on further listens, the sing along chorus typical of the bands earlier work.

This brings me to the main flaw of the album. On a single listen, many of the tracks may aggravate some listeners, who will then dismiss the album out of hand. In order to truly enjoy this album, you have to give it a chance. Tracks like One Month Off and the two previously mentioned tracks are very different to anything Bloc Party have ever done, and the over production of the music is bound to turn-off some fans. Given more play time though, this album can be enjoyed by the masses.

As well as the numerous high octane tracks, the band has included some mellower, more emotionally fuelled tracks, with varying success. Zephyrus is a heart wrenching song about a break-up, the instrumentation and pained vocals making this an album highlight. Better Than Heaven is also a nicely constructed, emotional song, with much to offer. However, the inclusion of Ion Square, possibly the worst song on an otherwise terrific record, is frustrating, as the song starts with a very promising idea. However it goes nowhere, and is far too boring for an album like this.

Onto the music itself and starting with the drumming, which has in my eyes at least, been the high point of Bloc Party’s earlier work. Matt Tong is a fantastic drummer for a band such as this, and his almost robotic approach, hitting beats perfectly time and time again, has never felt so in place. Most of the beats are simple in approach, rarely leaving the snare, bass or hi-hat except for the fills, and in some tracks such as Mercury, not at all. But the real brilliance of the drumming is the aforementioned consistency of timing, and this hammering of on beats at relentless speed is complemented excellently by the futuristic feel to the music.

On the odd occasion when the drumming is off, for example in Talons, the performances by the rest of the band more than makes up for it. Okereke’s vocals have never been to everyone’s liking, and indeed in the past have been lauded as the weak point of the band. But on Intimacy, you can hear the improvement, even if half the time his vocals are masked by a myriad of synthetic enhancements. The toning down of his usual shrieks and wails really makes the music easier to listen to, and the sometimes annoying over-articulation of words seems to have gone as well. The guitars are as usual, very good and catchy enough for the spiky riffs to be remembered for days, after only a few listens.

If Bloc Party had released another Silent Alarm or A Weekend In The City then their critics will no doubt have mentioned something about ‘lack of originality’ or some such criticism. However, by doing just the opposite, Bloc Party have released a stunning album that although not pleasing all their existing fans, will no doubt get them new ones; and, whether you like this album or not, you have to applaud the progression that the band has made. This is a dark, ominous masterpiece of rhythmical electronica and everything on here has a radical and clever layering. Ruthless in its approach, although more harnessed than their other two albums, there is definitely a new sense of maturity about this music, and hopefully this new mature Bloc Party will go on to make many more albums like this.

Recommended Tracks
Ares
Mercury
Zephyrus
Talons

Overall 4/5 Excellent



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user ratings (500)
Chart.
3.1
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other reviews of this album
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Bloc Party embrace electronics and a recent break-up, but still bore with another hit-or-miss effort...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Fugue
October 27th 2008



7352 Comments


OK guys, I know a lot of people intensely dislike this album, but I for one think it's brilliant. Thought I would give my opinion as the only review of this album so far is a bit negative. Hope you enjoy the review even if you don't agree with the rating.

AtavanHalen
October 27th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review's got some good things going for it, but a few things need to be fixed up.
The first is this:

The deliberate in-your-face-ness

The second is this:
the obviousness of the outer layer can be off-putting

The third is this:
Bloc Party have released a stunning album that is bound to please all their fans

Obviously not, given the backlash it's received.
Don't do pros and cons, they should be addressed in the review without being summarised at the end. If you summarise it at the end, then no-one will read the review.
Also, rating out of 100? That's for gaming magazines, and there's already a rating system there.

Fugue
October 27th 2008



7352 Comments


Ok thanks for the input, I made the changes you suggested, would you say this is better now??

AtavanHalen
October 27th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'd also get rid of the "Bloc Party are" section. I'm pretty sure everyone on Sputnik knows who Bloc Party are.


Fugue
October 27th 2008



7352 Comments


Yeah I guess so, hold on.

AtavanHalen
October 27th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, you've done a fairly good job, especially for a new reviewer. Well done.

Fugue
October 27th 2008



7352 Comments


Thanks for the pointers, I'm trying to improve with each review so I'll definitely take your advice to heart.

Nagrarok
October 27th 2008



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Sorry guys, but this album is just no good at all, except for Halo and Trojan Horse.


Fugue
October 27th 2008



7352 Comments


Fair enough, everyones allowed their opinion.

jimay333
October 27th 2008



433 Comments


I almost paid 40 bucks to see these guys at the local blues festival. I decided not to after listening to this...

AtavanHalen
October 27th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Bloc Party played a blues festival? Wow.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2008



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The energy & enthusiasm shown on the first 3 tracks ('Ares', 'Mercury' & 'Halo') is almost like an apology for previous album 'A Weekend In the City'. But where that album also started well & then stalled, 'Intimacy' is very even & consistent with the closing 3 tracks ('Talons', 'Better Than Heaven' & 'Ion Square') also impressing. And this time, only half of the songs cross the 4 minute barrier. Not quite up to the debut 'Silent Alarm', but not all that far from it in quality.

As for the review, I didn't see the original version, but with a bit of help from DaviD, I think it is very very solid. I actually think it's a tough album to review, so I'm going with a positive vote here.

AtavanHalen
October 27th 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hahaha, see I actually liked Weekend more than this.
This band is one of my many musical obsessions, but only one of the few bands I'm considering getting tattoos of in honour of their contribution to my life.

Fugue
October 28th 2008



7352 Comments


Nahh I thought AWITC was a little too dull, but thats just me

thanks for the vote DaveyBoy, the original review wasn't a whole lot different to this one, I just took out a lot of stuff and changed some of the vocab on AtavanHalen's advice.

julck969
November 3rd 2008



12 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm disagree when you said that "Ion square" is a bad song, I think is one of the bests songs in the album, or even the best.

Fugue
November 3rd 2008



7352 Comments


yeah, I know people who think it's a good song, but it just doesn't do anything for me, I can see where your coming from though, and heck, if we all liked the same stuff, the World would be pretty boring.

AtavanHalen
November 3rd 2008



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You're so understanding.
You're like a miniature DaveyBoy, covered in hair.

Fugue
November 4th 2008



7352 Comments


Ermmm, thanks???

robin
Emeritus
November 4th 2008



4241 Comments


is anyone going to upload the actual art any time soon?

Fugue
November 4th 2008



7352 Comments


yeah i'll do that now if you want



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