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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2005 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Distinctions Mercury Prize Selection
Much more polished, serious, and straight-ahead than their initial EPs suggested, Bloc Party's debut album, Silent Alarm, reveals them as a band equally informed by taut art-punk and the grand gestures and earnestness of groups like Coldplay and U2. Though they're not quite as stadium-sized expansive as either of those two bands (yet), Bloc Party sound a lot more comfortable making proclamations like "Positive Tension"'s "Something glorious is about to happen/A reckoning!" than contemporaries like Franz Ferdinand or the Futureheads would be. Silent Alarm is also more varied than Bloc Party's early work indicated it might be, spanning edgy pop, atmospheric ballads, and angular, percussive tracks that are all served well by the album's big, layered production. The great single "Banquet" and even better opening track, "Like Eating Glass," put Bloc Party's heart-on-sleeve emotions in the service of tight, energetic songwriting that makes their earnestness a little easier to swallow. The gorgeous ballads also make the most of Bloc Party's emotional directness: "Blue Light," "This Modern Love," and "So Here We Are" are some of Silent Alarm's finest moments, with a tension and impact that show how powerful even their softest songs can be. As both the band and album's names imply, Silent Alarm is an overtly political album. Bloc Party fare better than many other bands that dip into that fray, but the results are still mixed: the well-intentioned no-blood-for-oil sentiments of "Price of Gas" are heavy-handed, but "Helicopter"'s Bush-bashing and the antiwar "Pioneers" ("We promised the world we'd tame it/What were we hoping for?") are relatively subtle, and work fairly well as political pop manifestos. As dynamic as Silent Alarm is, it's not perfect: Kele Okereke's yelpy vocals get a little grating on the less melodic songs, and the second half of the album doesn't quite sustain the momentum it had at the beginning, although the bonus remixes of "Plans" by Mogwai, and "Pioneers"" by M83 help make up for this. Although it wouldn't hurt if there were more "party" (the celebratory kind, not the political one) in Silent Alarm, it's still a fine debut album with a lot of passion and polish; it's hard not to respect, if not fully embrace, the intensity and integrity of Bloc Party's music. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released June 22, 2015 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released July 12, 2019 | Bloc Party

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 20, 2012 | [PIAS] Cooperative

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When Bloc Party went on a lengthy hiatus after the release of their third album Intimacy, it didn't seem like they needed to get back together. The band's members had moved on, with Kele Okereke releasing his solo album The Boxer and bassist Gordon Moakes forming the group Young Legionnaire. More importantly, it seemed like Bloc Party had said its piece, but Four -- an album title that reflects the years between the band's albums, the number of its members, and its place in Bloc Party's discography -- shows there's more life in their music than most would have predicted. The bands from the post-punk/angular movement of the early 2000s that thrived were the ones who evolved; Bloc Party knew this as early as A Weekend in the City, when they began adding more electronic elements to their sound. This led to some strong moments on that album and Intimacy, but it also felt somewhat obligatory, following the Radiohead-blueprint way for a forward-thinking rock band to push itself. Yet Bloc Party push harder on these songs than they have in years, and there's barely a synthesizer or sequencer to be found. Four is far harder-edged than any of their music since Silent Alarm or their early EPs, and they spend equal time in familiar territory and breaking new ground. "So He Begins to Lie," with its lumbering, angular riffs and political overtones, could have easily appeared on their debut, while "V.A.L.I.S." and the excellent single "Octopus" distill everything great about their pop side -- precise melodies, spring-loaded guitars, expertly deployed tension and release -- into songs that seem poised for flight. Meanwhile, ballads such as "Day Four" and "Truth" are pretty but a touch predictable, serving more as breathers between the album's onslaughts than as attractions in their own right. Four's real star is guitarist Russell Lissack, who unleashes hesher-friendly riffs and solos with the pent-up fury of a four-year break behind him. He gives "Team A"'s menacing dance-punk extra heft and fuels "3 x 3"'s anguished tug-of-war with churning riffs that make it one of the album's most thrilling moments. Things get even gnarlier on "Kettling," which boasts surging riffs that recall P.O.D. and other X Games favorites, and on "Coliseum," which begins as a bluesy shuffle and ends as a metallic grind that would do Helmet proud. It's awkward, but it's also interesting and completely unlike anything they've done before. Songs like this and the album's closing rant "We're Not Good People" show just how much fight there is in this album, and in Bloc Party; they sought new life in their music and their collaboration, and they found it. Four may not be as cohesive as Silent Alarm, but it just might be more vital. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 23, 2009 | Wichita Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2016 | Vagrant Records

For most of their career, it seemed like Bloc Party could incorporate just about any sound into their music and still sound like themselves: On Weekend in the City and Intimacy, they added electronic elements to their razor-sharp dance-punk with anthemic results, and flirted with grunge and metal when they returned to jackknifing riffs and rhythms on Four. However, the biggest risk they take on Hymns might be continuing under the Bloc Party name. Between Four and this album, drummer Matt Tong and bassist Gordon Moakes left the group and were replaced by Louise Bartle and former Menomena member Justin Harris. While the new members don't sound like hired hands, the way Moakes and Tong's taut, astringent playing balanced Kele Okereke's earnestness is missed on Hymns. Indeed, Okereke's fondness for soaring choruses and meditations on sex, drugs, and faith -- and how they often blur together -- provide the main connection to the band's previous work. However, from the album's title to its lyrics, Hymns' expressions of searching and salvation are more overt than ever. Backed by slide guitars and a stomping beat, Okereke sings "I used to find my answers in the Gospels of St. John/Now I find them in the bottom of a shot glass" on "The Good News," and the results are both heavy-handed and not hard-hitting enough. Hymns' ballads are some of its strongest moments, and, not coincidentally, the most reminiscent of Bloc Party 1.0 and Okereke's solo career. "My True Name" and "Fortress" serve as reminders that their plaintive melodies and soul-baring are still potent, while "Different Drugs'" chemically enhanced portrait of being alone together recalls Bloc Party's highest emotional peaks. When the band attempts to branch out, the results are mixed: "So Real" and "Into the Earth" are intimate, guitar-driven sketches that make the most of Hymns' more straightforward sounds and emotions, but the bubbling "The Love Within" feels simplistic instead of euphoric. Ultimately, Hymns finds Bloc Party stuck between a fresh start and continuing their legacy, leaving their identity -- which once seemed so distinctive -- compromised. © Heather Phares /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released August 26, 2013 | Frenchkiss Records

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When Bloc Party went on a lengthy hiatus after the release of their third album Intimacy, it didn't seem like they needed to get back together. The band's members had moved on, with Kele Okereke releasing his solo album The Boxer and bassist Gordon Moakes forming the group Young Legionnaire. More importantly, it seemed like Bloc Party had said its piece, but Four -- an album title that reflects the years between the band's albums, the number of its members, and its place in Bloc Party's discography -- shows there's more life in their music than most would have predicted. The bands from the post-punk/angular movement of the early 2000s that thrived were the ones who evolved; Bloc Party knew this as early as A Weekend in the City, when they began adding more electronic elements to their sound. This led to some strong moments on that album and Intimacy, but it also felt somewhat obligatory, following the Radiohead-blueprint way for a forward-thinking rock band to push itself. Yet Bloc Party push harder on these songs than they have in years, and there's barely a synthesizer or sequencer to be found. Four is far harder-edged than any of their music since Silent Alarm or their early EPs, and they spend equal time in familiar territory and breaking new ground. "So He Begins to Lie," with its lumbering, angular riffs and political overtones, could have easily appeared on their debut, while "V.A.L.I.S." and the excellent single "Octopus" distill everything great about their pop side -- precise melodies, spring-loaded guitars, expertly deployed tension and release -- into songs that seem poised for flight. Meanwhile, ballads such as "Day Four" and "Truth" are pretty but a touch predictable, serving more as breathers between the album's onslaughts than as attractions in their own right. Four's real star is guitarist Russell Lissack, who unleashes hesher-friendly riffs and solos with the pent-up fury of a four-year break behind him. He gives "Team A"'s menacing dance-punk extra heft and fuels "3 x 3"'s anguished tug-of-war with churning riffs that make it one of the album's most thrilling moments. Things get even gnarlier on "Kettling," which boasts surging riffs that recall P.O.D. and other X Games favorites, and on "Coliseum," which begins as a bluesy shuffle and ends as a metallic grind that would do Helmet proud. It's awkward, but it's also interesting and completely unlike anything they've done before. Songs like this and the album's closing rant "We're Not Good People" show just how much fight there is in this album, and in Bloc Party; they sought new life in their music and their collaboration, and they found it. Four may not be as cohesive as Silent Alarm, but it just might be more vital. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 22, 2005 | Wichita Recordings

Much more polished, serious, and straight-ahead than their initial EPs suggested, Bloc Party's debut album, Silent Alarm, reveals them as a band equally informed by taut art-punk and the grand gestures and earnestness of groups like Coldplay and U2. Though they're not quite as stadium-sized expansive as either of those two bands (yet), Bloc Party sound a lot more comfortable making proclamations like "Positive Tension"'s "Something glorious is about to happen/A reckoning!" than contemporaries like Franz Ferdinand or the Futureheads would be. Silent Alarm is also more varied than Bloc Party's early work indicated it might be, spanning edgy pop, atmospheric ballads, and angular, percussive tracks that are all served well by the album's big, layered production. The great single "Banquet" and even better opening track, "Like Eating Glass," put Bloc Party's heart-on-sleeve emotions in the service of tight, energetic songwriting that makes their earnestness a little easier to swallow. The gorgeous ballads also make the most of Bloc Party's emotional directness: "Blue Light," "This Modern Love," and "So Here We Are" are some of Silent Alarm's finest moments, with a tension and impact that show how powerful even their softest songs can be. As both the band and album's names imply, Silent Alarm is an overtly political album. Bloc Party fare better than many other bands that dip into that fray, but the results are still mixed: the well-intentioned no-blood-for-oil sentiments of "Price of Gas" are heavy-handed, but "Helicopter"'s Bush-bashing and the antiwar "Pioneers" ("We promised the world we'd tame it/What were we hoping for?") are relatively subtle, and work fairly well as political pop manifestos. As dynamic as Silent Alarm is, it's not perfect: Kele Okereke's yelpy vocals get a little grating on the less melodic songs, and the second half of the album doesn't quite sustain the momentum it had at the beginning, although the bonus remixes of "Plans" by Mogwai, and "Pioneers"" by M83 help make up for this. Although it wouldn't hurt if there were more "party" (the celebratory kind, not the political one) in Silent Alarm, it's still a fine debut album with a lot of passion and polish; it's hard not to respect, if not fully embrace, the intensity and integrity of Bloc Party's music. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2016 | Vagrant Records

For most of their career, it seemed like Bloc Party could incorporate just about any sound into their music and still sound like themselves: On Weekend in the City and Intimacy, they added electronic elements to their razor-sharp dance-punk with anthemic results, and flirted with grunge and metal when they returned to jackknifing riffs and rhythms on Four. However, the biggest risk they take on Hymns might be continuing under the Bloc Party name. Between Four and this album, drummer Matt Tong and bassist Gordon Moakes left the group and were replaced by Louise Bartle and former Menomena member Justin Harris. While the new members don't sound like hired hands, the way Moakes and Tong's taut, astringent playing balanced Kele Okereke's earnestness is missed on Hymns. Indeed, Okereke's fondness for soaring choruses and meditations on sex, drugs, and faith -- and how they often blur together -- provide the main connection to the band's previous work. However, from the album's title to its lyrics, Hymns' expressions of searching and salvation are more overt than ever. Backed by slide guitars and a stomping beat, Okereke sings "I used to find my answers in the Gospels of St. John/Now I find them in the bottom of a shot glass" on "The Good News," and the results are both heavy-handed and not hard-hitting enough. Hymns' ballads are some of its strongest moments, and, not coincidentally, the most reminiscent of Bloc Party 1.0 and Okereke's solo career. "My True Name" and "Fortress" serve as reminders that their plaintive melodies and soul-baring are still potent, while "Different Drugs'" chemically enhanced portrait of being alone together recalls Bloc Party's highest emotional peaks. When the band attempts to branch out, the results are mixed: "So Real" and "Into the Earth" are intimate, guitar-driven sketches that make the most of Hymns' more straightforward sounds and emotions, but the bubbling "The Love Within" feels simplistic instead of euphoric. Ultimately, Hymns finds Bloc Party stuck between a fresh start and continuing their legacy, leaving their identity -- which once seemed so distinctive -- compromised. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2007 | Polydor Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 21, 2008 | Polydor Records

Intimacy would have been a good name for Bloc Party's previous album, A Weekend in the City, which was so vulnerable and confessional that it often felt like barely edited diary entries set to music. The album's take on 21st century life and love was heavy listening in large part because it felt so personal. Bloc Party's mood is just as dark on Intimacy, which plays a lot like A Weekend in the City's mirror twin: it's a breakup album that gives personal situations a political heft. The similarities aren't really that surprising, considering that Intimacy arrived just a year and a half after A Weekend in the City and also features production work by Jacknife Lee (as well as Silent Alarm producer Paul Epworth). The album begins with two of Bloc Party's angriest, most experimental songs, which revisit the beat-heavy territory of A Weekend in the City's "Prayer" with even more charged results. "Ares" is a modern-day war chant, with seething processed guitar lines fueled by huge pummeling drums, the likes of which haven't been heard since the big beat heyday of the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy. "Mercury" is cleverly astrological, using a straight description of Mercury's retrograde conditions ("This is not the time to start a new love/This is not the time to sign a lease") as a springboard to a self-loathing rant set to wildly spiraling brass and more of those bludgeoning beats. Bloc Party push the envelope hard on both of these tracks, almost to the point of pretension, but not quite; actually, it's a little anticlimactic when they return to more familiar terrain like "Halo," which could fit in easily among Silent Alarm's angsty rockers. However, the band does find subtle ways to tweak and channel that angst: "Biko" (not the Peter Gabriel song) is dedicated to Kele Okereke's "sweetheart the melancholic," but when he sings that "you've got to toughen up," he sings it to himself as much as his lost love, and as the song closes with a swell of backing vocals, it's clear that he's singing about more than something between two people. The band captures post-breakup obsession masterfully on the frosty yet strangely hopeful "Signs," where the way Okereke sings "I could sleep forever these days/'Cause in my dreams I see you again" makes this kind of brooding almost as romantic as actually being in love. "Zephyrus" balances Intimacy's heartbreak and experimental tendencies into a standout, setting snippets of an argument to strings, choral vocals, and sputtering rhythms. "Ion Square" ends the album on a somewhat uplifting note along the lines of Silent Alarm's "So Here We Are" or A Weekend in the City's "I Still Remember," and as good as it is, it underscores the album's push-pull between familiar sounds and breaking boundaries. At times, Intimacy feels rushed and predictable, and at others, it's almost painfully ambitious. However, at its best, it balances Silent Alarm's focus with A Weekend in the City's expansiveness. © Heather Phares /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released August 20, 2012 | [PIAS] Cooperative

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Electronic - Released October 14, 2013 | !K7 Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 19, 2013 | Frenchkiss Records

3.5 stars out of 5 -- "'Ratchet' is a guaranteed dancefloor banger with an elastic guitar riff and paper-thin snare drum hits, a more organic version of anything on INTIMACY." © TiVo
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Pop - Released January 1, 2007 | Polydor Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2008 | Polydor Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 26, 2013 | Frenchkiss Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 29, 2016 | Vagrant Records

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Dance - Released January 1, 2009 | Polydor Records

After leaving 2007's A Weekend in the City firmly intact, angular rock quartet Bloc Party revisit the concept of the remix album, enlisting another set of highly acclaimed musicians, DJs, and producers to work their dancefloor magic on the group's third LP, 2009's Intimacy. While Bloc Party have always been indie-disco favorites, the original Paul Epworth/Jacknife Lee-produced breakup album pushed them even further into electro territory, particularly on the likes of the twinkling Hot Chip-esque "Signs" and the haunting choral drum'n'bass of "Zephyrus." Intimacy Remixed therefore isn't quite as radical as the similar treatment afforded to 2005 debut Silent Alarm, but for those slightly deterred by the chaotic nature of the likes of the discordant brass-fused robotics of "Mercury," these 13 remixes provide a slightly more accessible spin on the original's envelope-pushing sound. U.S. electronic duo Villains strip away the Chemical Brothers-style breakbeats and thrashing guitars of war anthem "Ares" in favor of chunky dirty synth riffs and electro-house rhythms to produce a similarly turbocharged but less aggressive floor-filler; the We Have Band Dub remix of "Halo" turns the angsty art rock original into a pulsating slice of ambient electronica, full of video game synths, throbbing basslines, and snatches of Okereke's tortured vocals, while John B. eschews the former prog-punk leanings of the frenetic "Trojan Horse," instead serving up an atmospheric blend of euphoric Chicane-inspired dream-trance, dub reggae, and skittering drum'n'bass. Elsewhere, Intimacy producer Epworth, under the guise of Phones R.I.P., samples Carl Hall's "You Don't Know Nothing About Love" on his old-skool Italo-house reworking of "Talons"; Scottish post-rockers Mogwai, the only act included who also contributed to Silent Alarm Remixed, produce a subtle and surprisingly faithful instrumental retooling of "Biko"; and Armand Van Helden and Filthy Dukes both provide Ibiza-friendly warped bass interpretations of "Signs" and "One Month Off," respectively. The album's free-form experimental nature doesn't always quite work so convincingly, particularly on noise pop duo No Age's avant-garde feedback-drenched arrangement of "Better Than Heaven," which feels hopelessly out of place among the more club-friendly material, and Banjo or Freakout's eerily hymnal production of "Ion Square," which bears little if any resemblance at all to the original album's uplifting finale. But while some of its remixes will amount to sacrilege for Bloc Party's fervently dedicated fan base, Intimacy Remixed is a brave and inspired companion that avoids the generic four-to-the-floor treatment of similar releases, and successfully continues the band's fascination with blurring the boundaries between dance and indie music. © Jon O'Brien /TiVo
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Pop - Released November 12, 2007 | Polydor Records