It’s always difficult for bands that have been on hiatus to come back together and produce a decent record after spending much of their years arguing to their wits. In spite of this, British rock revivalists, Bloc Party, have band together again for their fourth record. Entitled Four—a rather typical name for a fourth album and a rather uninspiring one at that — is a new start for the band which has picked up a new label (French Kiss) and are ready to blast back into our lives with a reunion album.
Album opener, “So He Begins To Lie,” reminds us all why we liked Bloc Party in the first place — unpredictability. A brilliant guitar riff drives the track and sets us up for the album, but you can’t help but think the first half of this album comes from a lot of the hate generated between the band members over the last four years. “3×3”, an eerily powerful track won’t be for everyone, and “Octopus”—sounding like a toned down version of “Hunting For Witches”—is an intensely spastic single.
“Coliseum” a gritty melancholic post-punk tune, supported by lyrics like “Pain is hopeful, Pain is holy, Pain is healthy, Pain heals,” is also not what you would expect. That being said there is a absolute energy about these tracks we have not seen since their debut in 2005.
The music that really shines on this album however, really manages to leave a lasting impression. “Real Talk,” “V.A.L.I.S,” “Team A” and “Truth” all prove that Bloc Party can still write interestingly with a soft nature but also with aggression. The guitar work we all know and love really comes through on these tracks, and it’s no wonder. Lissak’s atmospheric backing sounds and his upfront staccato delay sound are all too familiar and Kele’s Backing vocals on “V.A.L.I.S” and “Truth” in particular, fit perfectly into the mix.
The heavy side of this album is not a bad thing, because that will grow on you, however, Four‘s downside is the fact it just doesn’t have that sense of completeness about it. Like Intimacy or not, it is a far-more well balanced record than Four. But this album is a statement. Bloc Party are showing that after 7 years they can still produce an album with raw energy and aggression. Its ups and downs don’t quite make it flow as well as previous releases, but it sure shows they can still make 12 decently written and produced songs for an album, that after all this time, is at least worth listen.