Bloc Party – Silent Alarm

January 28th, 2005
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With a Debut Like This…Who Cares About Good Spelling

Bloc Party, a four-piece band from the UK, carries on the post-punk torch with precision. Like its title, Silent Alarm, their debut album is soaked with contrast, dynamism, and tension. The lead track rings out with atmospheric guitars, and a pounding rhythm. However, the chaos soon converges into a catchy hook complete with a driving punk rhythm. The jagged guitars of the politically charged “Helicopter” morph into a cohesive, epic assault, while the hypnotic rhythms of “Luno” are countered by spacious drum fills, providing the listener with a brief gasp of air, until it reverts back to the original structure. The more straightforward, but no less rewarding, disco-injected “Banquet,” juxtaposes dance beats, hand-claps, and ping-pong guitar riffs in a showcase of sophisticated songwriting.The vocal deliveries and lyrical dramas revel in the themes of tension, paranoia, and urgency. There is no better example of lyrical paranoia than on “She’s Hearing Voices,” when the listener hears the tale of a girl suffering from obsession and schizophrenia. The lyrics “She’s got a red pill/blue pill,” are repeated in harmonic unison by lead singer Kele and bassist Gordon Moakes, expressing the circular nature of her haunted persona. When the repetition relents, Kele shouts “Come on I know that you want it,” taunting the girl as if he is a devil on her shoulder.

Bloc Party are not innovators, they simply understand how to create a classic song without sounding derivative. Even though they build upon a musical style that dominated the 1980s underground, Bloc Party’s unique delivery and immense talent are what makes them one of the most compelling bands on the new post-punk scene.

By Michael Feldman Posted in Reviews