Sound — 8
Bloc Party is hands down a fantastic band. From Kele Okereke's lyrics to techno drums, the British quartet own on "Intimacy". Last year's "A Weekend In The City" defined Bloc Party for their entire career. They showed us their heart searing lyrics, mechanical rhythms and quiet mourning laments. It's predictable that the guys felt some pressure with their next follow-up. "Intimacy" attempts to start where "Weekend" ended. The introductory track, "Ares", kicks off with distant oriental vocals. Until guitarist Russel Lissack breaks the peace with his shrieking, fuzz coated riffs. Bloc's signature drums then introduce themeselves with the usual quick, techno rampage. This song is amongst the many power surged tracks on this album. So many of these, that the listener sometimes feels tired; longing for a rest period. The rest periods do come eventually in such beautiful pieces like "Signs", "Letter To My Son" and "Ion Square". But the ADHD tracks like "Mercury" and "Talons" easily impress. "Mercury" became the album's first single in August and prepared us well for "Intimacy's" release. "Mercury" looks back to the group's first release, "Silent Alarm", and produces punching staccato, deep and unexpected cresendos and a marching band on crack. This song is shadowing, but it is deep red also, bringing the slice of confused anger to the record. This is apparent in Okereke's lyrics: "Scars on shins and scars on my knuckles/Today I woke up in a basketball court/Jonjo's in Sydney and he aint returning/I'm sitting in soho trying to stay drunk." You do that man. Bloc Party has a very unique sound. With techno, indie and just plain strange material, they are the first to do what they have done. But on near perfect tracks like "Your Visits Are Getting Shorter" they look to their Brit forefathers like Duran Duran during the bridge with their beat-busty 80's keyboard showcase. Likes of The Cure can be distantly distinguished in the damp and drippy riffs of "Letter To My Son". Although the work is no "Friday I'm In Love". "Signs" is clearly the nurtured child of the record. This song snows with it's chimes, bells and hazed harmonies. Lovers of the soft-sided Bloc Party, you'll cry to this. Snow can be cold, it can be molded and it can be melted. The content of this piece does just that.
Lyrics — 10
Not only is "Signs" the best track on the record musically, but lyrically as well. The lyrics freeze you where you are, they mold your heart to beat with Okereke's, then they melt you. It's obvious that this song was written from the event of a death of a love interest. Okereke sets no boundaries for his writing. If he feels it, he'll purge it. "Signs" sobs to his loved one "I see signs now all the time/That your not dead your sleeping" and "At your funeral I was so upset/In your life you were larger than this statuesque." Okereke is the best lyrical expert out there today, and not from his metaphor, he says it straight up. Sometimes you see more naked then you do clothed. "Intimacy" is no doubt an album of relationships. "Better Than Heaven" shows us what kind of intimacy Bloc wants us to feel with "You get sadder the smarter you get/and it's a bore." It's apparent that Okereke has trouble writing a sunshine love tune.
Overall Impression — 8
"Intimacy" is overall a good record. It contains the power-packed punches, the peaceful pains, and the awkward surrealist tracks like "Zephyrus". But "Zephyrus" becomes plain out annoying with the sudden and frightning vocal pops. The acoustic revision of "Talons" bores without a sense of the hyperactive original version. "Biko" repeates, repeates, repeates and then repeats some more until you finally get sick os it and skip to the following electronic emo "Trojan Horse". One listen through the entire album can leave you exaughsted and skipping back to "Signs" and "Your Visits are Getting Shorter". But considering the masterpiece of "A Weekend In The City", it's understandable that Bloc Party tried to continue the virtuosity, but narrowly missed that small area of 'perfect'.