Album Review: Bloc Party – Intimacy

By on Monday, 25th August 2008 at 12:50 pm

This post originally appeared on MoreMunkeyBiz

Bloc Party have never been a band that you could pigeon-hole into a specific category, musically or personally. They further showed us this last Monday when completely out of the blue they announced that their third album, Intimacy, was to be released – on Thursday, just three days later. Not quite doing a Radiohead, they managed to stun and beat the pirates, and get people to buy it – some of my friends who don’t normally buy music actually paid money to hear if the new Bloc Party album was just as good as Silent Alarm – and it is.

Their sophomore album, “A Weekend in the City” was a bit marmite-esque for many people – you either loved it or hated it. Personally, I loved Kele’s story-telling and mystical meanings, the atmospherical sounds and bleeps and bits which showed a bit of a growing up compared to the lyrical vague-ness and punchiness of Silent Alarm. “Intimacy” seems to take the lyrical strength Kele and co found on last year’s album, mixed with the anthems of “Silent Alarm” and updated to 2008 – and it sounds good.

Co-produced by Paul Epworth (producer of “Silent Alarm”) and Jacknife Lee (producer of “A Weekend in the City”), Intimacy manages to combine the two albums to create one that is greater than the sum of its parts. Kele commented to Zane Lowe that they wanted the “rawness” of Silent Alarm, but the “experience” of A Weekend in the City.

Opening with the three-pronged attack of “Ares”, “Mercury” and “Halo”, they are all brutal yet anthemic, they’ll no doubt go down amazingly well next weekend when they headline Scotland’s Hydro Connect Festival – glow sticks at the ready! If you loved Mercury from first listen, then you’ll most likely love these three.

Electronic drum beats and a synth drone are big on “Biko” and the jangly “Signs” sees a return to “So Here We Are” era Bloc – they’re wearing their hearts on their sleeves, and are so much better for it.

“Trojan Horse” is my least favourite track – a bit chaotic, it sounds like they’re trying too many things at once, and it doesn’t exactly gel compared to some of the other stompers they have on the album.

Surely the next single will be the fast paced “One Month Off”, we see bitterness rear its ugly head in the shape of a dancefloor filler. “Translucent and sun-bleached skin / Yeah, when did you get so LA? / How can you desert me after what we’ve been through?” asks Kele over Helicopter style guitars.

It all comes together at the end of the album with “Ion Square”, which is possibly the greatest Bloc Party song done to date. Building slowly, you’re just waiting for it to explode, and when it does you just know it’d be an amazing set closer at the festivals. Kele commented that it was his favourite song on the album “because it evokes a really great time in a relationship when everything was going right”.

Kele commented ahead of the release that Intimacy was his “breakup” album, following on from the end of a relationship at the end of last year, and whilst some of the lyrics are a lot more personal and feels like he’s bearing his soul, they also haven’t forgotten to get us to move – you simply cannot stay still whilst listening to Intimacy. Go and download it now, or wait until October to buy the CD – it’s worth it.

Top banner image comes from Bloc Party’s official website’s photos archive and was taken by Emma Svensson. Bloc Party’s Intimacy is available now from their webshop, and in shops from Monday 27th October.

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2 Responses

3:31 pm
10th November 2008

The New bloc Party is truly out there in terms of wierdness and content that doesn’t really make much sense to me but I give them props for the effort. I think they were trying too hard to be different on this album.

[…] Party love-fest this year, writing about just about everything they’ve done. First up, read a review of Intimacy, then read when we caught them at Hydro Connect and got to meet the guys, then second single Talons […]

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