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BLOC PARTY - INTIMACY
Bloc Party were formed in 1999, a four piece Band from London. But it was not until February 2005 the band released their debut album Silent Alarm. It was named Indie album of the year in 2006. Upon this success in 2007 they released there second album A weekend in the city. Then in 2008 Intimacy.
Kele Okereke (Lead Vocals, Rhythm guitar)
Russell Lissack (Lead Guitar)
Gordon Moakes (Bass Guitar, synths, backing vocals, glockenspiel)
Matt Tong (Drums, backing vocals)
Silent Alarm (2005)
A Weekend in the City (2007)
INTMACY - THE ALBUM .......
Bloc Party's third album "Intimacy" is predictably, different. Rather than resting on there laurels, Kele's quest to break new ground, is honoured throughout the album. It's steeped in flamboyant electric sounds and broken up beats/ guitar lines. Changing moods, upbeat, to depressive with plenty of energy thrown in with a mix mash of awkwardness and exciting lyrics! Bloc Party's sound is pretty unique, sending you on a thrilling ride from the outset.
What the album Delivers is entertainment, it's fairly innovative sounds are lively and energetic, and storyline lyrics most believable. Intimacy is easily there best album to date, however I feel they have not helped there mainstream cause, by releasing in my view the worst songs of the album "Talons" and "Mercury" .After success in touring the states, Bloc Party decided to tour England in October 2009, consequently re-releasing Intimacy entitled "Intimacy Remixed" on the 11th May 2009. The success of single "Mercury" meant the diverse sounds were working, there normal traditional sounds of Spiky guitar rifts, became a new electronic sound, which led them to experiment with brass sections and synths, vocal manipulation and choral arrangements.
1) ARES (3.28)
Urgency opens up the album in "Ares" a high level of drums and surging guitars. Not one of my favourite tracks and a poor choice to open the album up with! 5/10
2) MERCURY (3.50)
Mercury was a success as a released single, with its quirky electronic sounds. Again not the best single, could lead you to believe your in for a shocking album. 5/10
3) HALO (3.34)
Things start to pick up pace, with angst driven rocky sounds, and driven guitar sounds 6/10
4) BIKO (4.59)
The album changes here with a melancholy sound, the lyrics essential to the pace and mood of the track, its compressed, and awkward but yet a very moving song, one of my favourites. 10/10
5) TROJAN HORSE (3.30)
The pace changes again with an upbeat fast moving addictive chorus and guitar solos; you feel the album starting to lift to life. 8/10
6) SIGNS (4.37)
Heart wrenching lyrics, with electronic bass line, heightened by the mournful falsetto vocals, another of my favourite tracks 9/10
7) ONE MONTH OFF (3.35)
Another Exceptional tracks, electronic sounds, and guitar work, and sweeping moods 8/10
8) ZEPHYRUS (4.32)
This is a dark and seductive song, possibly the most charged tracks on the record with the brass band indulges and in choral-chanting and strings 8/10
9) TALONS (4.40)
The album takes a break here for me, not one of my favourites, a complex song 6/10
10) BETTER THAN HEAVEN (4.18)
I love this song and one I feel they should have released, the lyrics are amazing, it's an electo-tinted dream with builds up to an adorable climax.10/10
11) ION SQUARE (6.33)
Beautiful masterpiece and best track of the album by far, making the climax to the album all the more! Another lyrical masterpiece that leaves you feeling surprisingly uplifted. 10/10
The album would be one of my favourites, and one I would highly recommend, very under-rated! Do not judge Bloc Party by the sounds you hear on the radio, as the album tracks compare very little in comparison. A Little bit of Intimacy is good for all 9/10.
Never a big fan of the first two Bloc Party albums, I was convinced to give this a listen when told it was more experimental, electronic and angular. The band hail from London, England and are a four piece creating, on this album, some great music. This album also spawned a remix album.
The band kick things off with a super charged electro rock burst of energy, in Ares, that sees lead singer, Kele Okereke, declaring "war, war, war, war, i want to declare a war!" setting the tone with a jutting groove. The song fluxes between guitars and electronics, before calming down for 30 seconds, then setting off again. It is a truly classic opening to an album, the song really gets you pumped, and while Kele isn't the best singer, there is enough passion and soul there to keep you interested.
Things take a turn for the more experimental with "Mercury", with repeated vocal loops over an electric tribal drum beat. Downright dirty as a song, it sticks out a bit from the rest of the album, but it weirdly works. Much of the album is like this, very jutting, very eclectic, weaved with the thread of a new change of direction to a more electronic band. It works, but at times only just. "Halo" is a fairly average song actually, and doesn't really instill the sort of passion the other two do. However, it does have a great guitar melody, just it isnt as great as the first two. The next song "Biko" is a lilting, beautiful song over a sweet acoustic track, before gentle drums enter. It seems to hit home more close to home with the band, with lyrics to do with cancer, the song feels truly personal. Sandwiched between two fast tempo electro-rock songs doesn't really work, but the song is without doubt a highlight.
The album continues in similar vein to this, with odd electronic riffs over guitars, with a few ballands, and on the whole it works, but I tend to turn off by Talons. The album is tiring, as it fluctuates between genres, sometimes it jars and sometimes it works, but rest assured, there are some brilliant tracks on here, and is well worth at least a listen on Spotify.
Bloc Party. Now there's a band not afraid to try new things. There's a band that are happy to produce an album and literally start from scratch for the next one, regardless of how will the previous one did. This then is their third studio album, "Intimacy", and it's like nothing you've ever heard before.
Their debut album "Silent Alarm" is one of my favourite albums of the decade, but their difficult second album "Weekend in the City" felt under-done and without being too blunt - dull. This third album though released in 2008, is an exceptional bit of music.
From the moment things kick off with 'Ares' then you know things will be exciting - it's an off-the-wall, all over the place, jilted piece of music that some could just sounds like instruments being struck at random but it's the musical equivalent of an Art Deco piece of work - it's all over the place, but perfectly measured in doing so. The juxtaposition of vocalist Kele Okereke proclaiming "We dance to the sound of sirens" and then placing a wistful verse of him harmonising, but reconvening his previous chant is Bloc Party uniqueness.
The album is simply more energetic and better produced than Weekend in the City was. Tracks such as 'Talons', 'One Month Off' and 'Halo' are full of energy, more rocky and certainties for any kind of 'Best of' album they ever release...especially if I have anything to do with it. The former of those three tracks is arguably the best on the album - Kele's haunting vocals of "I have been wicked/I have been arrogant" sound great and then the chorus bursts in with distorted guitars and more of the kind of ingenious drum loops from Matt Tong that you expect from Bloc Party.
'Mercury' may be the song that many people will recognise who don't follow the band - the vocals of "My mercury's in retrograde" have been played around with more times than an old Playstation to make them sound so unique that it has to be a Bloc Party track. This is what the band have become accustomed to - pushing boundaries of music, using as many objects to be used as instruments as plausibly possible and still producing a delicious end product. Defining them into a genre would be a pointless activity, as by the time you have done they'll have moved onto something new. Lets just say 'alternative' and be done with it...
Things do calm down with tracks such as 'Signs' and 'Biko', but my preferred style of Bloc Party is always going to be their energetic side rather than their considerate side. Yes, tracks like these are beautiful, but deep down inside me there's still part of that rebellious 14-year-old still awaiting more teenage angst to come along. So anything with a distorted guitar - not too distorted mind - especially when it's as melodic as Bloc Party can make it, is good for me.
Arguably this album didn't make as many inroads into the charts and commercially as either of their previous two albums, reaching number 8 in the charts compared with second and third place for their first two outings. But there's something about it which means it's certainly better than Weekend in the City, and a worthy adversary for Silent Alarm. This album combines some of their indie-rock moments early on from songs such as "Helicopters" and "Banquet" from Silent Alarm, and the alternative styles from stronger tracks on Weekend in the City such as "The Prayer" and "Hunting for Witches". The result is simply brilliant
Having met and formed the band in 1999 at Reading Festival it's fair to say that Bloc Party have come a long way in the last 10 years. Last year saw the band release their third studio album Intimacy with the hope that it would continue the success they were already enjoying. The band had secured themselves a place amongst the leading British acts with the previous 2 albums and this album seemed like a slight change of direction and trying something a little different, whilst not alienating the fans they'd already gained.
The album itself came about in a rather strange way. When the first single "Mercury" was released in August there wasn't any release details for a future album. A few days later however the band unveiled details of a completed album and 10 tracks were made available within 60 hours as a special edition download from the bands website. Following that the album itself hit the shops some 2 months later in a slightly longer form to the pre-release version on the website.
This album sees the band taking a slightly different direction and while there are still signs of their Indie Rock routes the album has a very different feel. Musically the direction has taken a drastic change to a more electronic and dance route than the previous albums. There are certainly influences from the likes of Prodigy and Chemical Brothers to be heard throughout the album. It was recorded in a studio in Kent under the expert eyes of producers Jacknife Lee and Paul Epworth who seem to help Bloc Party get the best possible sound out of their new direction.
Obviously there is still a lot of the traditional Bloc Party sound within the tracks with very sharp guitar riffs and a real sense of direction. The addition of synthesisers and different effects on tracks like "Biko" show the bands new direction and will sound slightly different to fans of the band. There is a good mixture of musical styles on the album and that ensure that the sound Bloc Party are becoming known for is still very much evident within all the tracks on the album. Of course there are some slight changes to that sound with the drums taking a more important role on certain tracks than on previous albums but it's still easy to tell within the opening bars that this is still Bloc Party doing what they do best.
It's lyrically probably the most mature album of the three from the band. There are some very personal lyrics in each of the tracks for lead singer and writer Kele Okereke as he has confirmed that the songs were inspired by the breakup of a relationship. That's not to say it's an album of touchy feely love song, far from it, he keeps his perceptive about the breakup and about the relationship in general and it leads to some very deep and heartfelt lyrics. This is also portrayed in his vocals as you can feel an extra spark that has perhaps been missing from the previous records as the lyrics he is bringing to life mean something to him.
While this is a slightly different approach for the band that sees them take on a more electronic approach than before it works. There are some really good tracks on this album that really stood out from the first listen. Of course the lead single "Mercury" was played almost nonstop on the radio before the album's release but there are even better tracks on the album such as "One Month Off", which was actually the third single to be taken from this album. It highlights the addictive beat that Bloc Party can create and mixes it perfectly with the incredible vocal talents of Kele.
When bands start to experiment with their sound it is often a worry but with Bloc Party it seems to be a natural progression. There previous albums had hinted towards this as a direction they could head down and with this third album they have done it very well. They were already establishing themselves as one of the biggest Indie bands in Britain prior to the release of this album but now I think it's fair to say they could be challenging the Prodigy for the biggest Dance act crown in the future.
Amazon Marketplace: £2.48
I have always liked bloc party, believing them to have a somewhat different sound that that of the standard indie bands around. From the outset they always had some "dancy" elements such as the big drum beats and techno guitar sounds, however this album takes it further with it in parts sounding less indie rock and more electro. Whether this is a good thing, only you can judge, depending on your music tastes. However, it is still a well written album with some great songs on.
It didn't get much commercial success, which would suggest that the popularity was not massive, i myself only came across it whilst just looking around on play.com. But many people will have heard "mercury" which features on the album so there is some exposure.
There are some weak songs on here though, that are not quite up to the quality of the other records, which is a bit annoying as just a couple of different songs could have made it a really good album.
Basically, this album is for fans of the bloc party and indie sound, but many not appeal to the audience who have heard the previous hits such as helicopter, but have not really heard much of their back catalogue.
Recently I decided to begin reviewing the latest albums of bands taking part in Glastonbury, as I think the line-up is relatively poor and have gone in search of finding any decent acts there.
Intimacy is the 2009 release by Bloc Party, I hadn't heard any of their previous work prior to this album.
I'm not overly keen on the vocals which lack conviction and don't seem to suit the music that much, Kele Okerere has one of those neither here nor there wishy washy posh black accents like Dr. Truman had from Eastenders. There's nothing really wrong with it but it's not gripping enough to accompany either the rocky guitar riffs or the electronic side of their music. Likewise the backing vocals of Gordon Moakes seem a bit wet too.
The worst song has to be Biko which never really gets going, likewise I don't see the point of Signs which just seems like over-indulgent twaddle - silence and then vocals with dull lyrics? Who cares! In fact, the majority of the album seems to spend its time attempting to do something clever but ultimately fails with minimalistic instrumentalism and a lack of balls.
One Month Off is of slightly better calibre than the majority of the album but one of the more lively numbers "Talons" is no better than your average dull indie rock band, it seems that this band don't seem to use their innovation to the max and just potter around a vaguely experimental zone that is neither groundbreaking nor impressive.
5 Trojan Horse
7 One Month Off
10 Better Than Heaven
11 Ion Square
When the first single off London-based Indie band Bloc Party's 3rd album was released a lot of Bloc Party fans were understandably disappointed. Mercury was not the Bloc Party we had grown to know, but something entirely different. Instead of the classic Indie type of music dominating the scene this was a strange mix of electro and rock, with the only noticeable Bloc party elements being the dance influenced drumming and Kele Okereke's faded out vocals. However, after a few listens a lot of fans, me included, found themselves hooked to this track and loving it. The funny thing is, this, in my opinion, is actually the worst song on the album; and it's great!
When the album did come out as a digital download I put it off, I didn't buy until the hard copy came out, when I opted for the special edition. I rushed home and thrust it into my laptop, hooked up my speakers and listened expectantly. Ares kicks in first and it delivers what a lot of fans expected after hearing Mercury, some grimy electronica mixed in with the classic Indie style of Bloc Party of old. With typical fast paced dance based drumming reminded many a listener of the Chemical Brothers. The breakdown into a much softer vocal and musical style near the end of the song provides a much welcomed break from the urgent, fast paced song.
When the third song kicks in, Halo, after Mercury, we are reminded that this is still Bloc Party, with an almost non existant techno vibe and the indie sound we were expecting before Mercury dominating this song, with the usual love-based lyrics coming superbly out of Kele's mouth.
Next up we get a truly beautiful ballad in the form of Biko. Musically it's good, with the "clapping track" we here in quite a few Bloc Party song,but this song really excels vocally and lyrically, with heart-wrenching lyrics about living with someone struggling against cancer.
Trojan Horse wrenches us out of the solitude and desperation of Biko and back into the fast paced drumming and electro synths of the beginning of the album. It's a very good song throughout with all the expected Bloc Party lyrics about love and sex.
Another ballad comes next, Signs. This is almost as sad and lonely as Biko, with lyrics porttraying the disappearance of a friend. Musically more instruments are introduced and the more you listen to this song, and the whole album as well, the more little things you notice about this album. The subtle changes, and horns in the background, a bit of organ playing. It really grows on you, even if you love it at first listen.
The second half of the album moves away from the massively fast paced drumming and electro and introduces some more complex, layered songs focussing on slightly more complicated drum patterns rather than just raw pace. More subtle changes in the music is noticed here, with Zephyrus introducing a choir to the mix, with truly stunning results.
Perhaps one of the best tracks on the album comes only in the special edition, Your Visits Are Getting Shorter. More fast paced drumming here with the synths again, but with heartfelt, emotional lyrics of the slow process of Kele's break up.
Overall, this song is outstanding, and eve as a long time Bloc Party fan, I would call this my favourite album. Stand out tracks are Ares, Halo, Biko, Signs, Zephyrus, Talons and Your Visits Are Getting Shorter. It's been months since I bought this and it's still a regularly listened to album by me, a favourite to my CD player in my Car. 5/5, a must buy for all Bloc Party fans.
To start things off, Bloc Party are a band formed in 1999, with this album being the third album they recorded.
The album was released on the 21st of august 2008 in digital format and on the 27th october 2008 with a physical CD release. Releasing the album in a non conventional way i think to mix things up a bit and get more fans exited about buying the digital or CD format at different times (or even both)
From the very first song, - 'Ares' touching on subjects such as War - with the words 'War, war, war, war, I want to declare war.'
echoing through your head to the last song;
Ion square, a solemn song, almost reflecting on the album as a whole.
I feel this song completes the album and gives it a nice round off which an album always needs.
Musically, the whole album flows. It has a story like way of evolving through the tracks. I think that the album shows just how bloc party have evolved as a band and as a group of highly talented musicians. They complement each other and the band as a whole has a great vibe.
IF you are a fan of Bloc Party, or you would just like to try something new and would like to broaden your musical horizons, i strongly suggest this album (or even any of their older stuff - this is very very good aswell.)
Theres nothing else out there which sounds like this group of people called bloc party, they are just so unique in there mixture of genre.
5. "Trojan Horse"
7. "One Month Off"
10. "Better Than Heaven"
11. "Ion Square"
Before I begin this review I just want to say that I don't claim to be a music expert or even have any musical talent but I know what I like and Bloc Party are at the top of my favourite band list!
This is the 3rd release from the band and had a lot to live up to after the simply sensational debut album 'Silent Alarm' and then the follow up 'A Weekend in the City.' These two albums catapulted Bloc Party to the top and made them one of the bands I adored so when 'Intimacy' was released I was expecting a lot!
After playing it for the first time I wasn't quite sure what to make of it, the normal sound of Bloc Party seemed to have gone and I wasn't sure if this was an album I could enjoy. But after the 2nd and then every consecutive play through I realised just how incredible this album is. Bloc Party as any good band should had progressed and moved forward creating a new sound that incorporated new instruments and new styles. The album continued the sound of the track 'Flux' but took it to new levels.
Don't get me wrong there are still some tracks that will remind you of the Bloc party from 'Silent Alarm' but this album represents a band that has grown up and is trying to push themselves and boundaries instead of staying in their comfort zone.
There are too many stand out tracks to mention so if you like Bloc Party buy this album and be prepared to be blown away.
'Intimacy' is a fantastic third album release and is definitely a CD to add to your collection.
Intimacy is the third album by London band Bloc Party. It was originally released to download from the band's website in August 2008 (in MP3 format) and was released on cd in October 2008. The original download release did not include Talons and Ion Square.
Intimacy uses the big beat influenced sound first used on the 2007 single Flux which sadly isn't included on the album. It's rumoured that Intimacy is based upon a break-up frontman Kele Okereke had in 2007.
Ares (named after the god of war) gets the album off to a good start and features a lot of the elements used in Flux. Mercury (the first single off the album) is up next and it has to be said is one of my favourite ever Bloc Party songs.
Halo has more in common with the new wave sound of the first two albums (Silent Alarm and A Weekend In The City) and is an instant Bloc Party classic. It's energetic and perfect for playing air guitar to. Fantastic! The same can be said for Trojan Horse.
Inbetween these two highlights Biko is a bit more mellow and has more in common with the likes of She's Hearing Voices and So Here We Are off Silent Alarm. I must admit that I prefer the faster songs because Okereke's vocals work better on these.
This is clearly evident during Signs which starts with the kind of tune that wouldn't sound out of place in a jewellery box. Okereke sounds as if he's trying too hard to sing and it doesn't quite work.
One Month Off features a lot of weird samples and has quite a catchy chorus. "I can be as cruel as you. Fighting fire with firewood", sings Okereke. Then Zephyrus (the god of the west wind apparently) is all choral-chanting and features the line, "So let's try not to complain about your smoking". This song doesn't quite work for me.
Talons (the second single release from the album) regains the momentum lost during the previous track and again has a really catchy chorus. "And when it comes, it will feel like a kiss" sings Okereke this time.
Better Than Heaven completes the trio of single releases from Intimacy. It takes a while to get going but makes up for it with a decent chorus.
Ion Square brings a mostly enjoyable album to a close. It's the longest track at around six and a half minutes and features a line from a E.E. Cummings poem called I Carry Your Heart With Me. Okereke again sounds like he's trying too hard to sing on this song and should maybe stick to high tempo songs. However that's about the only criticism I have about Intimacy because it is a good record.
Since 2005's debut album 'Silent Alarm' Bloc Party have been my favorite band, 2007 follow up 'A Weekend In The City' did nothing to deter this despite not being on par with the previous record, so it was with great excitement and fear when in August 2008 Bloc Party announced the release of third studio album 'Intimacy' adding to the bombshell they announced that Intimacy would be released digitally just three days later, with the physical format available a couple months later. Jointly produced by Paul Epworth and Jacknife Lee of the first two albums would this release signal a dilution of quality compared to previous albums? Or would this snap release show a band who are creatively further ahead then there peers?
--- Ares ---
Known as the Greek god of warfare Ares sees lead singer Kele ready for a fight belting out the words 'War War War War, I want to declare a war!" in record time, complimented with a heavy drum beat and squawking guitars the song barely stops for breathe. Unlike anything Bloc Party have ever done the track can be defined as somewhere in between a Dizzie Rascal song and the Chemical Brothers, raising the bar for the rest of the album.
--- Mercury ---
This was the lead single from the album and continues with the dance based theme stop gap single Flux had created. However, Mercury is a much more darker less friendly song that frantically builds towards a dramatic crescendo with huge beats that is a sheer delight on the senses, this song was made for the dancefloor.
--- Halo ---
A more traditional Bloc Party track then the previous two songs and a now live favorite. Without losing any of momentum of the previous two songs Halo focusses more on guitar riffs then the electric side. This is a song that wouldn't be lost on 'Silent Alarm.'
--- Biko ---
A heartbreaking song that appears to be written about someone close to the band suffering from cancer. The anguished lyrics of 'Was my love not strong enough to, bring you back from the dead if I could eat your cancer I would, but I can't." shows the band lyrically at there best.
--- Trojan Horse ---
Merging both electronic and guitar based elements Trojan Horse has become a favorite to many Bloc Party fans. Starting with a muffly repetitive beat and a catchy chorus the song concludes with an epic guitar rift that will have you tapping your foot and nodding your head in sync.
--- Signs ---
This was the first song I fell in love with on the album and could possibly be my favorite Bloc Party song (depends what mood I'm in). The song opens with Gordon on the glockenspiel with nearly a minute passing before the first words are spoken. Possibly tying in with Biko the song deals with the death of someone close as Kele brings the song to a close with the wonderful lyrics.. "I see signs now all the time, that your not dead your sleeping. I believe in anything, that brings me back home to you." Ironically the song has been remixed into a dance song and is set to released soon.
--- One Month Off ---
This was the third single released from Intimacy and is a corker of a song. Kele sings the song with a certain anger and intensity repeating the words "I can be as cruel as you" over and over before the electronic elements take over the song bringing it to an anthem style close.
--- Zephyrus ---
More new ground for the band as Zephyrus sees the band head into another direction. Backed with a choir and a heavy drum and bass influence the song is one of the strongest on the album, just a shame it'll probably never see a live audience.
--- Talons ---
Originally left out of the digital release of the album Talons is the second single of Intimacy. Menacing and angry Kele is once again at his finest here as the song ranges from the slow 'Signs' to the earlier intensity of 'One Month Off' perfectly.
--- Better Than Heaven ---
Opening with the lyrics "What's with all this doom and gloom?" it seems the band take a possible swipe at previous album "A Weekend In The City" cue bible quotations and possibly the finest closing sequence in the whole record as the drums, synths and guitars seem to be played at the fastest speed possible.
--- Ion Square ---
Easily Bloc Party's finest closing song on any album Ion Square defines what Intimacy is all about. Although repetitive the song is a grower and is lyrically one of the strongest on the album and causes an almost fist in the air finish.
For me this was the album of 2008 as Intimacy sees a band continue to evolve and try new things with the influence of bands such as Bjork, Justice and Sonic Youth all apparent. Lyrically superior to it's previous albums Intimacy finally sees lead singer Kele write about his personal life. While superior to 'A Weekend In The City' the album just falls short of topping the magnificent 'Silent Alarm' although picking up the deluxe edition of Intimacy with 'Letter To My Son' only closes this gap. A must have purchase if your a fan of Bloc Party and well worth taking a risk on if your feeling a little bit bored of the music scene at the minute.
Get These Tracks:
Better Than Heaven
One Month Off
Revolutionary, progressive, political and generally brilliant. I am tempted to stop my review now....but I wont. Let me try to quailfy what I mean.
I was seduced by Bloc Party's sound in their first two albums (A weekend in the city is a truly excellent album) and had to get Intimacy as soon as it was released. I listened to it straight away, but then it kind of sat there waiting for the second listen. Then I bought Fleet Foxes (see an earlier review) and it got pushed even further back down the playlist. But then I thought I should give it another listen. And another. And then it happened. It was like paddling along a stream and falling over the edge into a massive waterfall. I had fallen for them again. Maybe it was the subtle differences from the up front, in your face music of Silent Alarm and A weekend in the city that is missing here that made this third album more of a grower.
Kele Okereke seems determined to captain Bloc Party out of the 'Indie' genre, a genre that has become increasingly bloated and derivative, something, you feel, that Kele would like to distance himself from, despite the band's mastery of the genre on Silent Alarm, an album that will almost definitely be chosen as one of the classic albums of the early 21st century Indie scene.
However, despite this Intimacy is a good, maybe very good album, but not a classic and one that does not produce the 'singles' that were readily available on the first two albums. It is almost as though the cross over into something new has Bloc Party holding something back - hopefully for the next album.
I cannot help but feel that there is something, albeit something very small, missing here. Now do not get me wrong, as I am still more than happy to give this a respectable three stars. Ares is a very good all guitars blazing opening track.
The album picks up in the second half with "Trojan Horse", which channels some of the sounds of yesteryear. The opening of the song is engaging and Kele's voice connects to the music quite flawlessly. But there is just not enough of this elsewhere. Zephyrus is for me the most disappointing track. It gets a bit better with Talons immediately after, but not to the heady heights of years gone by.
All this leaves Intimacy sounding like an overlong EP that dabbles with ideas that were too messy for a higher profile release. Which perhaps explains the surprise announcement of the albums release three days prior to its launch. It is a bit disappointing, but in my opinion this is due to the high standards Bloc Party set themselves with their first two releases.
There is plenty to like on this album, but unfortunately, nothing to really love.
I had heard of Bloc Party, but didn't know any of their music before I came across this record. The band had already had a couple of releases and are set on a course of world domination. Whenever I come across such bands I am always a little apprehensive to hear their work because it is so often a let down. Indeed, the first few times I heard this album I wasn't really sure what to make of it.
The sound at first is aggressive, an unusual mix of industrial electronica with garage rock, then with the distinctive vocals of Kele Okereke over the top. Later on in the album an unexpected mix of glockenspiel and other chiming sounds form the basis of some tracks, and this changing up between tracks means you can't really just zone out and the album definitely demands attention. At first listen the sound is quite overwhelming and even a bit unsettling, although the strong bass and beats were appealing I wasn't sure it was something I'd get into, but it definitely grew on me!
Fast forward a few weeks and I realised that whenever I wanted to hear something to get me rocking, this was the first album I thought of. What's surprised me even more since then, is that I also really enjoy this album when I'm looking for something a bit more tender, sweeter, even melancholy. That the album manages to fulfill both sides of the spectrum is, to me, testament of a truly great album.
The first two tracks in particular (Ares and Mercury in Retrograde) are fast-paced, chock full of driving industrial beats, and Okereke's vocals have an almost desperate, but powerful, overtone to them. It's definitely the sort of music that you can't help bopping your head and tapping your feet too, and with the slightest provocation you'll find yourself breaking into a full on groove. What's great about these tracks though, and sets them apart from other dancey rock on the market, is that the mix of sounds and instruments is complex and layered. The more you listen the more you'll hear the short bursts of horns, the odd, untraceable electronic samples and distortions. Definitely plenty of material to keep you interested over repeat listens.
As the album progresses, the hooky guitar riffs step up a notch and the more electro sounds of Mercury in Retrograde back off a notch. These are slightly more intimate sounding, but still rocky tracks, which are complimented by the honest but emotional lyrics.
Indeed the lyrics are truly outstanding on this album - intelligent, thoughtful, and often painful. There is such a range of emotion, for example the sorrow and fear in Biko in comparison with the fury and bitterness of One Month Off. Okereke really sets himself apart as an exceptional songwriter, and shows his versatility being able to belt out rock tunes as well as sing softly and sweetly over the ever-present, though varyingly intense and more sparse bass and percussion.
Really I think that this album has something for almost everyone as there is such a mixture of moods and sounds. However throughout the band does maintain its own voice and sound through repeating motifs and the unrelenting momentum of the songs, even when they are slower in pace.
If you're into Interpol, The Strokes, or even The White Stripes, get this album, give it a listen, and prepare for a slow burner that's going to end up blowing your mind.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
5 Trojan Horse
7 One Month Off
10 Better Than Heaven
11 Ion Square