It’s ironic that Bloc Party singer Kele Okereke would post something about the latest Baroness album on his blog seeing as his bands latest, Four (Out August 21st), is also such a radical departure for the group. Sort of. Four is Bloc Party being retrospective yet completely new. The electronics of Weekend In The City and Intimacy are almost completely gone and what is left is this fuzzed out, stripped down, angry (Yes, angry!) band that is so completely hungry again that they just go for the throat on each and every song.
The only problem I’ve had with typical Bloc Party albums is the lack of consistency throughout. I was okay with the more electronic direction on recent albums but even on an album like Silent Alarm, there seemed to be this lull somewhere around the middle that just never went away. That’s not the case on Four. If you feel yourself getting bored, there’s something lively around the corner to wake you the fuck up. For every “Real Talk” (Which sounds like Boston’s own Kimone), there’s a “Kettling” on its ass ready to punch you in the eye. Speaking of “Kettling”: did you know Bloc Party could sound like Quicksand? No, really. Maybe it’s Gordon Moakes’ influence from his Young Legionnaire project (If you have not heard this band, you need to check them out!) that makes things go in the heavy direction (And there ARE some HEAVY moments here).
Opening with “So He Begins To Lie” gives almost a prog vibe to Four and while misleading, it would still be indicative of an array of sounds that BP try out on their fourth. “3X3” is downright operatic at times backed by the frenetic guitar stylings of Russell Lissack while first single “Octopus” is jarring at times, hypnotic at others. The main thing that Four brings to light is the strength of Bloc Party’s secret weapon in drummer Matt Tong (Matt Tong!). Whether he’s playing it light on tunes like “The Healing” or brutal (Yes, brutal) on tracks like “We Are Not Good People”, Tong just shines.
Elsewhere, echoes of their early work are prevalent in songs like “Truth” and the utterly fantastical “Team A”. If you really want to remember Silent Alarm-era BlocParty, though, then the Deluxe Edition of Four is a must have as the two bonus tracks, “Mean” and “Leaf Skeleton” sound as if they were plucked right from the SA vaults.
Four is available on August 21st through Frenchkiss Records.