Bloc Party
Four


2.5
average

Review

by Olivier De Clercq CONTRIBUTOR (38 Reviews)
August 15th, 2012 | 17 replies | 1,938 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bloc Party returns from the dead, but the party itself is nowhere to be found.

Four years after Intimacy, the very mixed received third album by Bloc Party, and the following hiatus, the British superstars return with the aptly named Four. The question that's on everyone and their mother's mind is which direction the post-punkers would follow after their heavy electronic third and the even heavier programmed solo albums by frontman Kele Okereke. For those of you who want to hear the fuzz and screeches of the guitars back there's good news: Four is the most straightforward rocking Bloc Party since 2005's Silent Alarm.

But - and here it starts to get ugly - Four isn't half as engaging as the band's older work, including black sheep Intimacy. Despite of the huge change in sound on that last one, there was at least that undefinable spark - call it a heart and soul if you wish - present that makes the band special. At least there was the notion the group believed in what they were doing. Apart from the different musical approach, Intimacy still felt like a true Bloc Party record. In comparison, this humble reviewer doesn't get that special feeling at all with Four.

The electronics may be gone, but what we get instead is a cacophony of what seem like a thousand different styles and sounds clashing together. It's as if the band had a massive creative burst after their sabbatical and they refused to cut a single one of their ideas to improve the coherence. On top of that (and contradictory enough) the record feels very stripped-down, skimmed from its layers. Songs like 'Real Talk' or 'Day Four' are just glorified demo takes, early sketches of what could be great songs if the band had given them some extra attention. Now there only exists the notion that they could have been something more than just album filler between guitar anthems. Speaking of anthems, it seems that Bloc Party decided to not sound like Bloc Party on Four, but instead to just rip off other artists. Take 'Kettling' for example. The song is second-grade Jimmy Eat World, but with an even glossier production than that band - which for the record isn't a good thing at all. Elsewhere, 'Coliseum' is the most cringe-worthy Motörhead pastiche I've ever heard, and every time it blasts through my speakers, I can't help but to think: "Why, for god's sake, why?"

Luckily, there are a couple of rough diamonds on here, that counteract the many bads on Four and prevent the record from being a complete disaster. First single 'Octopus' is actually very decent, it's just that Klaxons did this type of song so much better on their debut Myths Of The Near Future. Even better is 'So He Begins To Lie', the nasty, feedback-infused joyride of an opener. It's practically the only moment on Four that I get the feeling that the band still hasn't lost its touch; together with 'V.A.L.I.S.' that is, which is vintage Bloc Party from the glory days: extremely danceable with plenty of hooks and moments for drummer Matt Tong to show his prowess. Also, for those of you who get the deluxe version of the album, you can expect the two bonus tracks to relieve some pains from the regular tracks.

However, those scarce rays of hope can't remedy the fact that Four is by far the worst album in the band's career. Above all, I feel that it's a very empty record, like a shiny, but ultimately hollow shell. I'm missing the playfullness of yore and the sense of unity. The band members have already shouted that they will probably soon pull the plug again from project Bloc Party. If that's the case, one can only wonder why they decided to briefly return and release this underwhelming piece of work. What I'm concerned, Four is the biggest disappointment of the year so far.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Terrible summary.
This is still growing on me, but I'm fairly sure this is how I'll feel about it in the end.

Also, comments and tips are welcome as always!

Oh, before I forget: Jimmy Eat World comparison courtesy to Bloc!

Digging: Sully - Blue

Tyrael
August 15th 2012



20714 Comments


I'd replace that summary man :P

Other than that, good review and thanks to you assholes I'm hooked to Intimacy now. Fuck.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Yeah coming up with good summaries is my biggest weakness. Any ideas? :]

And it's only for the best, Ty. That album rules face.

Tyrael
August 15th 2012



20714 Comments


How about: Don't call it a comeback?

It usually takes me longer to come up with a good summary than it takes me to write the whole review hahaha...

Fugue
August 15th 2012



7351 Comments


I'm still entirely unsure what to make of this album.

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
August 15th 2012



1477 Comments


Nice review. Don't know if I want to try this.

And yea, Intimacy rules pretty hard.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Don't call it a comeback?

Isn't there the unwritten rule that every summary must have a terrible pun? :p
I'll keep it in consideration if I can't come up with anything better, thanks.

Also, even though I reviewed it, I myself am still unsure as well. We'll see how it turns out.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2012



30863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Now you're just rubbing salt in the wounds of my new found dislike for you. First The Prodigy and now this??? You have spat into the wind good sir

Digging: FaltyDL - In The Wild

Tyrael
August 15th 2012



20714 Comments


'Isn't there the unwritten rule that every summary must have a terrible pun? :p'

You've been hanging out with Davey for too long.

'I'll keep it in consideration if I can't come up with anything better'

HEY! -.-

auberginedreams
August 15th 2012



5983 Comments


i've only heard a few songs so far but i'd say it's at least a 3 unless i happened to skip all the bad ones or something. idk what it is about all of these post-punk revival bands who refuse to just give their fans what they want, another album like their first one. it's frustrating being a fan of some of these bands.

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Oh I didn't meant it like that, sorry. It's just that I usually want a summary to complement the sentiment of my review.

First The Prodigy and now this???

Heyhey, I'm on a roll! :D

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

@ aubergine: But I don't want an album like their first, I just want it to be good.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
August 15th 2012



9971 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Dude, sweet review. You need to keep writing! :]

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 15th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Omaha :]
I don't have the time to contribute regularly, but I try to get interesting (or so I hope) reviews up now and then.

bloc
August 15th 2012



34660 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Wicked review my man...although I HOPE YOU DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!

And nice addition of the Jimmy Eat World thing, glad I wasn't talking out of my ass on that one ;)

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

clercqie
Contributing Reviewer
August 17th 2012



6319 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I knew the song reminded me of something, but until you mentioned JEW, I had no idea what it was. So yeah :]

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
August 18th 2012



844 Comments


Good review man, pos from me.



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