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Archive Album Review: Four by Bloc Party

After a 3 year hiatus Bloc Party return with fourth album “Four”. What a return it is too. There was a lot of talk that Four would be more akin to debut album Silent Alarm – going back to an indie-rock sound leaving out the dance element of previous album Intimacy, while there is an element of truth to this you’re in for a pleasant surprise.

Don’t be expecting another Silent Alarm, this is a different Bloc Party. There are huge rock songs here, at times its heavy power chords with ominous lyrics, then the quiet songs are even more delicate than before. As is part of the course with any Bloc Party album there’s big grooves with plenty of opportunity to dance and sing a long. As lead single Octopus hinted there are some lovely guitar solos scattered through out.

It’s hard to actually quantify how good Four is. It’s full of surprises. Kele Okereke’s vocals sound sumptuous through out, while Russell Lissack’s guitar playing is outstanding as always. Matt Tong’s trademark break beat drumming complements Gordon Moakes’ driving bass perfectly. Four is without doubt the best album I’ve heard all year – it is simply superb – with every listen it gets closer and closer to becoming one of my favourite albums. You will be blown away from the first listen, falling further in love with every listen; new small details come out all the time. Not only is this Bloc Party’s strongest album it is head and shoulders above anything else released in the last year.

Curtain raiser So He Begins To Lie is a thunderous opening. It begins with a lovely groove before launching into a soaring guitar riff with a powerful vocal from Kele exclaiming that “it grows and grows inside of me”. And that is exactly what Four does from this powerful start. From that glimpse into the new style Bloc Party, second track 3×3 is sinister and dark taking on a Muse-esque quality of grandeur. The bass is heavy a brooding throughout – a excellent track.

Lead single Octopus is up next, and this is probably the closest you get to the old style Bloc Party. It is gloriously catchy and dance-able, then you get the lovely guitar solo from Russell thrown in – again hinting at a slightly new direction. Real Talk is the Four’s first slow track.  Delicate guitars and drums complement Kele’s frail vocals, a beautiful track, it is one of the finest moments on the album.

It all kicks off on fifth Kettling – it sounds massive. Big heavy guitar riffs through out give you goose bumps. It’s a revolution inciting song with Kele singing “They can’t stop this, we can feel it in our bones, the future is ours”. It’s the first big surprise of four, simply by being so heavy, then at the 2.5 minute mark you get wonderful guitar solo – it soars beautifully sounding slightly Smashing Pumpkins-esque. This track alone is fantastic, and a reason to buy Four.

After the raucous Kettling, Day Four is the complete opposite. Gentle and emotional it shows the other side to Bloc Party, previewed by the band at the start of August you can listen at the soundcloud link below – again it is another top notch track.

Coliseum starts with lovely Americana style guitar, before exploding into an all out hard rock track with its monstrous guitar riff and solo. V.A.L.I.S gives the trademark Bloc Party drum beat with sing-a-long lyrics. Team A then gives us Russell’s trademark guitar – reminiscent of Silent Alarm work before turning dark with Kele threatening “I’m going to ruin your life, snitches get snitches” and a big thunderous and evil sounding guitar riff comes into play. Menacing throughout it is another great track.

With tenth track Truth, Bloc Party deliver up another delicate and emotionally charged love song. There’s a lovely bass groove brooding in the back ground, but it’s the wonderful lyrics with stand out on this track, heartfelt and subtle – an ode to finding love and relationships. A fantastic track and another stand out moment. Penultimate track The Healing carries on the slow and delicate theme and delivers the same high quality.

Final track We Are Not Good People returns to the big heavy guitars giving a monumental end to an outstanding album. It screams and lurches, harsh guitars and full of menacing energy it is a fitting ending with Bloc Party signing off in brilliance.

Released on the 20th August, Four is a triumphant return for Bloc Party. It will stand out as one of the best albums of 2012 giving a slap to the bottom of rock music, Bloc Party have raised the bar here. You must hear this album, it is terrific. I doubt any other band will come close to anything of this quality any time soon. Not one weak track present, easily a ten out of ten.

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