Remember last year, when Kele Okereke, Bloc Partyâs lead singer, thought he was kicked out of the band in apropos of nothing but wild speculation? The weirdest part of that whole event is how the band then felt divided into Kele versus the rest of the band, making the inner-workings of Bloc Party seem perpetually on edge. After 2008âs Intimacy, Kele took time to explore a solo career, leaving his band to wonder when they might start making music again. The awkwardness of their relationship seems to seep into their new material, causing the record to feel less cohesive. Four appears to be Bloc Partyâs attempt to combine everything theyâve been praised for in the past to create one, ultra-awesome mega-record. However, the result feels more like each band member got to voice their ideas for the record and none of them were turned down.
The album is perhaps their weakest to date simply because they offer nothing new for their listeners. âOctopusâ could have easily fit onto Intimacy because of itâs glitchy, rambunctious nature. Keleâs extra-soft delivery on âThe Healingâ recalls Silent Alarm.Â Calling attention to the likeness of Four to other Bloc Party releases may be viewed as a weak jab to an otherwise inherent part of bandâs releasing new music but for a band like Bloc Party, who take enormous risks in each release to adopt a specific sound, this release is uncharacteristically unbalanced.
The only recurring theme comes in snippets of Bloc Party in the studio, which makes the album feel more like an unfinished product than a musical stream of consciousness. Oddly, the album takes a turn into sludgy, Top 40 jock-rock with âKettlingâ where poor Kele can barely make his presence known amongst the sheer, thunderous wall of instrumentation. âColiseumâ has a slight country drawl before slipping back into an uninteresting mash of grungy, spectacularly predictable chord progressions. By âThe Healing,â a slowed-down, echoey track where Kele shows the true diversity of his voice, Bloc Party donât seem totally aware of just how many genres theyâve left in their wake.
For a little less than half the time, the album sounds like the Bloc Party of yore, clinging tightly to Keleâs brazen delivery and dance-rock ethos. Inoffensive tracks like âTeam Aâ and âV.A.L.I.S.â will surely appease Bloc Party fans of every degree simply because they contain these elements. âReal Talkâ also falls along those lines calling attention to sounds that have helped Bloc Party solidify themselves as indie rock staples. Any fans interested in hearing the bandâs growth since Intimacy will most likely be disappointed since Four shows a band at odds and restlessly unfocused. By naming this record Four, Bloc Party could be calling attention to it being their fourth record, the number of years between this and their last release, how many band members they have, or just because theyâre uninterested in their music entirely.
Bloc Party’s fourth album Four has seen the band shed some of the more experimental (for them) electronic signals they were put out on their last album Intimacy and instead have gone for a harder, more in-your-face approach that’s been winning fans back since they dropped “Octopus” and “Day Four”.
After their last album Intimacy was met with only a scant amount of praise, there were a lot of people who were skeptical going into this new album and whether Bloc Party could rekindle their flame of old.
After their first track “Octopus” dropped, however, the excitement around the track was huge. New fans were made, old fans were back in the game, and die-hard fans were overjoyed. Today they gave us “Day Four”, the second new track from their upcoming new album Four, and the first taste of a slower, more balladic sound from the band.
Four will be released on August 21st via Frenchkiss and below you can listen to and buy “Day Four”.