Bloc Party's fourth album , aptly titled Four, finds the four British rockers moving away from the experimental electronics of Intimacy and getting back to what originally put them on the map.
Well, sort of. It's hard to tell what they're aiming for here. Four very nearly feels like mixtape of different bands, or at the very least, a "best of" collection, spanning one band's evolution. "3x3" and "Coliseum" are loud and raging, though the former does so much more successfully than the latter. Then there's "Day Four," which takes on the tone of The Police," and the quiet and sensitive "Real Talk."
The band is in its best form on songs that blend a little bit of all of those things, and especially when the guitars are more rhythmic and Kele Okereke's voice goes a little crazy. His falsetto on "Octopus" pulls you in before getting in your face with some yelping and distortion, and the sputtering guitar turns into a ripping solo to close the song out. "V.A.L.I.S." finds a balance between the competing styles, too, with Okereke really letting his voice leap and slide while the bass and guitar drop in and out without killing the momentum.
It's hard to tell if Bloc Party is lost or purposefully turning the volume way up and way back down. The variety is certainly better than an entire record of songs that sound the same, but Four is just barely holding itself together.
That said, it's still a good record, and fans of older Bloc Party will probably appreciate it even more. The band doesn't have that right-for-this-time feel it had in the early 2000s, but it's still interesting and it still rocks.
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