Sound — 8
Bloc Party was formed when Russell Lissack and Kele Okereke ran into each other at the Reading Music Festival in 1999. They put an ad in NME for a bassist and were soon joined by Gordon Moakes on bass guitar. They auditioned drummers and ended up choosing Matt Tong. They got their break when Kele Okereke went to a Franz Ferdinand concert in 2003, and gave a copy of "She's Hearing Voices" to the lead vocalist from Franz Ferdinand and also a radio DJ that worked for BBC Radio named Steve Lamacq. Steve Lamacq played the song on his radio show, then invited Bloc Party to the radio show to record a live session. At this point Bloc Party's career lifted off, and since then their debut album, "Silent Alarm", won them a nomination of "Best New Artist" at the 2005 NME Music Awards. They were also nominated for "Best Alternative Act" at the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2005. Since then they have continued to make interesting music and enjoyed critical success in the UK, and more recently have started to enjoy more attention from fans in the United States.
"Four" is the fourth studio album release by the British indie quartet, Bloc Party. There are 12 tracks on the album, or 14 tracks on the deluxe edition. The album runs at just over 43 minutes, the deluxe version at about 50 minutes. Since Bloc Party's debut they have morphed stylistically in several small ways and what you find with the release of "Four", is a pretty straight forward group of songs. Of course, the guitars are drenched in effects and the vocals range from nasal whining to snarling angst. Oh yeah, and there are some electronica and new wave elements present on some tracks can't forget about that. At the end of the day, Bloc Party have a sound in their heads that is pretty original and they have tried to get it out onto an album they seem to have been moderately successful. To me, personally, Bloc Party's sound on the album could be likened to a shoe gaze band playing rock. That is really what it sounds like to my ears.
Lyrics — 8
Kele Okereke provides lead vocals for Bloc Party, and what he does fits with the music and that is what counts as far as vocalists go. He isn't the most trained or precise vocalist, but his voice has character that carries over into the songs. His strong point as a vocalist is probably the fact that he can go from an almost punk snarl to a pseudo-falsetto in mid line, and it works for their music.
As a sample of the lyrics, here are the lyrics from "Octopus": "It hid and it hid in his bedroom/ psycho killer teen dream action film/ gonna show you how we get down/ in my hood/ bubbling bubbling cheap champagne/ lay and decker home wrecker feel no pain/ lying face down when I swing your way and what/ what's my name, what's my name? / Mary Anna said it's a no go/ she don't feel like it she don't think so/ I don't know why I feel like crying/ well come on come on/ say come on, come on/ They ran and they ran from his classroom/ roll another 40/ make them scream/ gonna show you how we do things in my hood/ tripping and a tripping/ erase all tapes/ John Wayne, Rob Roy, feel no pain/ This is the point where you look the other way/ you done lost your mind".
Overall Impression — 9
I'm not a HUGE indie fan, though there are several indie bands that I enjoy immensely, but previous to the release of "Four" I had only heard a few Bloc Party songs on the radio. After listening to "Four" I went back and listened to their previous releases. Here is what they have over their competition in the indie world they are just straight up more creative than most bands in the genre. Their lyrics tend to be kind of surreal, the guitar work is spastic (in a good way), and the vocals are dynamic enough to give the music more depth than it would have otherwise. My favorite songs on the album are "So He Begins To Lie", "Octopus" and "We Are Not Good People". I don't really dislike any songs on the album. If you are new to Bloc Party, they remind me of early Modest Mouse and newer Cage The Elephant though I'm sure some people will disagree with that assessment. They are worth checking out, however, whether you are a fan of indie music or not. I was personally turned off of them in the past because I'm not a fan of Franz Ferdinand and I had heard there was a connection between the two bands, but after looking into the full story and then listening to this album I am glad I did. I wish I had given them a chance a while back.