Following a self-imposed hiatus, Bloc Party have come back with their fourth studio album. As chance would have it, it’s titled ‘Four’. But have the British band brought anything new to the table?
It’s good to have boys back together, especially after rumours at the beginning of this year that the group would be never record another album. The long break (they hadn’t done anything since 2009) and Kele’s solo success did nothing to slow those chinese whispers down, so the band announced their comeback in February.
They have returned with a rocking throwback to their early days though, reminiscent of their critically-acclaimed first album Silent Alarm. It brings back that great British indie rock sound that was somewhat missing from their third effort Intimacy, which is no doubt a good piece of work but is removed from what made Bloc Party fans fall in love with the band in the first place. This stripped down 14 song collection reminds us what we’ve been missing.
One of the things that hits you on your first listen is the aggression which has found its way back into their sound. Kettling is pure-and-simple hard rock, almost Foo Fighters-esque, but still undeniably Bloc Party.
Coliseum lulls you into a false sense of security, building slowly before completely blindsiding you. This album certainly doesn’t apologise for it’s heavier touch.
There are also some softer and more sentimental songs on here, such as Truth and The Healing, just as there was on Silent Alarm. Octopus, the lead single, feels like something straight out of their debut album, which is both a good and bad thing.
While the pacing is very good, and Bloc Party are clearly a very talented four-piece, is this new album bringing anything new to the fold? This is by no means a bad album, it is a very enjoyable listen. Their craft is unquestionably great, but one wonders where has the originality gone. There is nothing on here that either they haven’t done or hasn’t been elsewhere already.
Long-time Bloc Party fans will likely rush out to buy this, or calmly sit at their computer while it downloads, but I doubt it will catch the attention of the masses in any significant way. A good listen, not a great listen.
Originally published in 2012.