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01 - 07 Sept, 2012
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FourJUKEBOX
Four
Bloc Party
Bloc Party's unpredictability has always been admirable, emerging as they did from the hopelessly conformist, misnomer world of 'indie'. Leaping to fame with the inventive but guitar-bound Silent Alarm debut, front-man Kele Okereke soon began dragging the band ever deeper into electronica. It was a journey that most fans – and ultimately his band – decided not to accompany him on. The band never formally split, but Okereke's delight in his solo album and guitarist Russell Lissack's secondment to Ash suggested otherwise, which makes Four a reunion album. It's as true for bands as for couples: getting back together doesn't normally work. Yet from the moment So He Begins To Lie tears out of the speakers, it's obvious that Bloc Party have dodged expectations again. Lissack's fantastically crunchy riff, Okereke's echoing vocal and Matthew Tong's feverish drum rolls forcefully prove that Bloc Party are a real band again, and a rock band at that. Followed immediately by the strafing guitars and hysterically gothic vocals of 3x3, they sound so raw and energetic you'd think they formed 13 weeks ago, not 13 years. Mostly, this works immensely to Four's advantage. Real Talk stumbles forward slowly, Okereke's bruised vocal dragged along by Lissack's shuffling guitar. On The Healingwith its lovely, lapping guitar lines are matched by a frail, dreamy vocal. Between the soft and hard extremes lies the python-like Octopus: its frenetic guitar line, stuttering rhythm and delightfully skipping vocal looping around the listener, before the chorus brutally tightens. The downside to this newborn approach is that Four doesn't cohere particularly well. Still – remarkably – Bloc Party sounds full of potential where just four years ago they sounded depleted.

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