Record Label: French Kiss
With the very welcome return of Bloc Party, you would think that their new album, Four, would be all bleeps and glitches as following their third LP, Intimacy and the solo work of Kele Okereke, the band found themselves leaning towards an electronic influence. However one glance at the album’s producer and something doesn’t add up. Alex Newport, famed for his work with post hardcore legends At The Drive In, was on studio duties and his love of full bodied guitar work has permeated through into Four.
By far this is Bloc Party’s most guitar orientated LP to date, if Silent Alarm wore a post punk influence like a badge of honour, Four wears a rucksack adorned with all manner of guitar busting contemporaries pin badges. The DNA of Queens of the Stone Age and Deftones can be found strutting over the riffs on ‘So He Begins To Lie’, a nice swipe at David Cameron the current Prime Minster of the UK.Equally ‘Coliseum’ and ‘Kettling’ capture a band reinvigorated with being a band. That is the overwhelming sensation with Four, this album feels organic and raw without the use of any studio trickery.
This may be Bloc Party’s rock record but this doesn’t detract from the fact the London four piece still know how to be tender and delicate which ‘Real Talk’ and ‘Day Four’ attest. The beautiful ‘Truth’ captures Okereke’s angelic side with the simple words of “I am yours now truthfully/ I am yours now respectfully”. Okereke’s vocals have also come on leaps and bounds since their debut back in 2005, there is an assured confidence in the frontman’s delivery along with a range that flits from falsetto to arena pleasing anthemic.
With Four, Bloc Party set out to rekindle what it was to be a band, the notion of four people saddling up their instruments and creating music in a room. Four is exactly that, even down to the little snippets of studio chatter which crop up throughout Four. This album almost feels like a private recording session that has been unleashed to the world, warts and all. As ever with Bloc Party a question lingers over their future as a band and if this is to be their last album, it’s a fantastic full stop.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams