Bloc Party
Silent Alarm


5.0
classic

Review

by Winesburgohio CONTRIBUTOR (35 Reviews)
June 10th, 2011 | 41 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I'd pay for music this good any time.

It is my belief that every music fan has a debut album released by a British alternative band in the last decade that they hold a significant attachment to. For many it’s Interpols ‘Turn Out the Bright Lights’; for some it’s Arctic Monkeys sarky ‘Whatever people say I am’. One friend insists that Maximo Parks ‘A certain trigger’ trumps them all, while another feverishly endorses the Kaiser Chiefs first release. That these bands all descended into mediocrity following these debuts is irrelevant – those debut albums are held in a rosily tinted light and will forever remain special to the listener.

Silent Alarm is my special album. It is the first album I bought with my own money, the album I used to listen to when I was mopey about girls, the album I listened to to get sufficiently hyped for parties, the album I had in the background whilst writing essays. And yet the law of diminishing returns has yet to rear its ugly head; spinning Silent Alarm today arouses the same old sense of excitement as well as conjuring those heady times of my early adolescence.

In a way, it’s hard to tell if my outright adoration of the album is based on nostalgia or on its genuine musical merit. However listening to it now I believe the latter is the case. From the no-holds-barred opener ‘Like Eating Glass’ (and, really, you’d have to back to Sonic Youths ‘Daydream Nation’ to find a rock opener as exhilarating as this one) to the disconsolate ‘Compliments’, the album never fails to stun. On tracks like the rousing ‘Helicopter’ and the reasonably well-known ‘Banquet’, Kele Okerekes urgent, pleading vocals are complimented by propulsive drumming courtesy of the outrageously talented Matt Tong. The guitar lines are as angular as angular can be, while the bass thumps along perfectly, adding touches of groove to proceedings. Bloc Party function as a unit exceptionally well, whether they’re languishing in the second-hand smoke of the morning after (a la Bluest Light) or head-over-heels over a romantic partner (This Modern Love), and this makes it feel like a ***ing BAND record, not a showcase of each member individually.

In essence, I believe one of the reasons Silent Alarm holds me in thrall to this day is captures exactly how it feels to grow up. The obvious teenage angst of the opening track (‘I can’t eat/ I can’t sleep’) is foiled by the twentysomething confusion of the closer (‘We sit and we sigh and nothing gets done/So right so clued-up, we just get old), and the moments in between chronicle the dejection, joy, activism, frustration and fleeting moments of contentment in between. The musical background always compliments the lyrics – the maudlin feel of ‘Compliments’ is aided and abetted by its trip-hop-esque nature. Silent Alarm is an album one can empathise with at any age.

It is worth mentioning that while Silent Alarm was the first album I adored, its follow-up ‘A weekend in the city’ was my first musical disappointment. Bloc Party have never come close to capturing the essence of what makes Silent Alarm so wondrous. But in a way, that only adds to the mystique the album holds and makes it all the more special. In a time when good British Indie albums were popping up left right and centre, this one trumped them all.

‘What are we coming to, what are we gonna do’



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Comments:Add a Comment 
STOP SHOUTING!
June 10th 2011


779 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

interpol are american.

Drsmith4
June 10th 2011


1735 Comments


Pay for music? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2011


56228 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Finally a 5 review.

outline
June 10th 2011


563 Comments


Came to post that Interpol are American.

bloc
June 10th 2011


53376 Comments


My origins : )

Digging: The Presets - Hi Viz

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
June 10th 2011


56228 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My first "indie" album.

Snowball
June 10th 2011


85 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

why'd you have to get so hysterical

NigelH
June 10th 2011


1571 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

arctic monkeys haven't really descended into mediocrity

KTLL
June 10th 2011


87 Comments


Killer review man. Hit it on the head.

But Interpol is American lulzzzzz :D:D:D:D:D

Knott-
Emeritus
June 10th 2011


10204 Comments


agree with you about the opener and this record rules.

Knott-
Emeritus
June 10th 2011


10204 Comments


plus blue light is one of the most beautiful songs ever

Winesburgohio
Contributing Reviewer
June 10th 2011


2395 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well. I feel like a twat for the whole 'Interpol' thing. Should've done my basic research. I'll let is stand as a monument to my stupidity/I don't know how to edit it out



And yeah Blue Light is gorgeous. Seriously give this a go if you haven't already, you might be surprised

Digging: ITEM - Sad Light

Yotimi
June 11th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Tong tears it up on this album. Too bad their other albums are terrible.

clercqie
July 12th 2011


6522 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, man!



And I don't understand how everyone thinks with all these bands that the debuts are their only good albums...



Interpol - Antics

Bloc Party - Intimacy

Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better



Although I absolutely love the debuts of those bands, I fiercely believe the above being the best efforts by those bands. And although the Monkeys' debut will probably remain the best of the bunch, the rest are all awesome as well. My two cents



Yotimi
July 12th 2011


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I like Antics but I can't get through Intimacy

clercqie
July 12th 2011


6522 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

To me, it's the best electro/rock hybrid album ever. Not to mention how emotional the lyrics and themes are...

Knott-
Emeritus
July 12th 2011


10204 Comments


OLTA
This
shit band

clercqie
July 13th 2011


6522 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

OLTA?

Demon of the Fall
April 23rd 2017


9067 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album still stands out amongst its piers. Most of the British Indie-Rock/New Wave revival scene around the time bored me senseless but not this. Catchy & fun but not completely throwaway. Everything they did after this sucked pretty bad though...

Digging: Sophie - Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides

dfevil085
April 23rd 2017


1301 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know about everything after this. I still hold some of Weeked in the City a bit higher than this.



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