Review Summary: Psycho killer teen dream action film.
I still remember when Sunday was my hangover song. I still remember head banging like an idiot to Helicopter on the bus in high school. I remember hearing Blue Light for the first time and applying it to some form of pent up teenage angst. Nostalgia soon became all I had to rely on when Intimacy was released.
I remember hearing “Intimacy” for the first time and the flood of disappointment that arrived with it. This certainly wasn’t the Bloc Party I was used to. The record felt rushed and overproduced. It then came as no surprise to me when Bloc Party announced a hiatus shortly after. I thought that was the end of Bloc Party, I was scared that I would never hear another Bloc Party record. I started hearing Kele’s songs being played at nightclubs and treated it only as a funeral procession for Bloc Party.
I was apprehensive about the latest release, entitled “Four”. I expected very little, I expected it to have the depth of a puddle. I assumed that the new record would be a continuation of Kele’s pop career. Indeed I was wrong, boy was I wrong. Bloc Party have progressed, matured and definitely risen from the ashes of Intimacy to create a truly spectacular record.
“So He Begins To Lie” definitely sets the scene for the record. A simple yet effective riff pulsates through the verses, slowly building up to a crescendo towards the end of the song. The lyrics are simple, yet punchy. In terms of opening the album, they could not have done it much better.
“3x3” is a strange one. I’m not quite sure why it is strange, but something just doesn’t sit well in the song. That being said, there is a certain addictive quality to it that will keep me returning. Definitely one of the darker songs on the album that appears to explore the destructive nature of self loathing and the causation of sexual assault.
“Octopus” was first released a month or so ago alongside a video clip. It definitely touted to be the big song off this album over at camp Bloc Party, and rightly so. Filled with more guitar pedals than you can throw a stick at and complimented with Kele’s fantastic falsetto, this song will not leave your head for weeks. Because Octopus is so unorganised, there is a beauty that arises out of the chaos. This is a very chaotic song. You will be listening to the chorus and it will smack you with a guitar solo. You will be expecting a verse and be given a chorus.
“Real Talk” is a transition song. It marks the end of what we have just become used to in the past four songs. “Kettling” explodes into a mammoth opening riff that far exceeds any precedent. It definitely throws Song for Clay’s opening guitar in its shadow and only stops to reload in the verses. Towards the end of the song, we hear, in my opinion, one of Bloc Party’s greatest solo. Drawing influences from The Smashing Pumpkins and Dinosaur Jr, Bloc Party excels from this point onward.
“Day Four” lets us put our hands on our knees and catch our breath. A slower song that reminds us that yes, we still are listening to Bloc Party. “Day Four” is definitely a throwback to previous Bloc Party records. “Day Four” creates a placid atmosphere that is all but destroyed by “Coliseum”.
Opening with a very Beck-like introduction, Coliseum rips through the 2:29 at a breakneck speed. “Kettling” shys in the wake of this behemoth. If it was not for the intro, I would have still been trying to work out whether or not I was actually listening to Bloc Party still. Songs like this however, will set fans apart. Being a fan of the heavier spectrum of music, this is my cup of tea. However, those looking for stock standard, radio friendly Bloc Party will soon find themselves skipping over songs such as Kettling and Coliseum.
This is where the album hits a bit of a lull. “V.A.L.I.S” is certainly one of the aforementioned “radio” songs. “Team A” unashamedly steals from “Octopus” to the point that it could be entitled “Octopus part 2”. Bloc Party stumble at “V.A.L.I.S” and continue to fall through “Truth” and “The Healing”. These are not bad songs, however it is nothing new. It is exactly what you expect in a Bloc Party record, but not what you expect from “Four”. Nothing new is tried in these final tracks and you almost lose faith that it will regain any momentum. That is until “We Are Not Good People”. When the song first began, I thought I had hit the end of the record and had ventured into the rest of my music library. Alas, this was not the case. We Are Not Good People is fantastic. A shining light at the end of the tunnel. A punk song to finish things up and leave everything in tatters.
“Four” is far from a perfect album. It has flaws laced throughout many of the tracks and the lull towards the latter half of the record does not help. However, Four does succeed in treating you to a taste of Bloc Party to come and fans will either love or hate this taste. I for one, love it. I love the fact that Bloc Party are trying something new and not just relying on the tried and tested formula. Welcome back Bloc Party, welcome back. My anticipation of what is next to come is unparalleled.