Bloc Party - Silent Alarm - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Styled more along the lines of a revolutionary cell than a band, Bloc Party approach the medium of rock'n'roll with the sort of high seriousness usually reserved for philosophy lectures. Yet on their debut album, Silent Alarm, this "autonomous unit" of smart, wiry London youth don't just succeed in reinvigorating the artform – they come pretty close to reinventing it from the ground up.

Whereas early singles like "She's Hearing Voices" found the band still attempting to chisel their own image out of familiar post-punk reference points – The Fall, Joy Division, and Gang Of Four, to name but three – newer tracks such as "Like Eating Glass" and the prickly "Price Of Gas" find Bloc Party pioneering a freshly-minted template of staccato percussion, expansive soundscapes, and cryptic lyrics that artfully straddle the political and the personal. Russell Lissack has forsaken that overdone hallmark of post-punk, brittle tortured-fretboard skronk, in favour of an effects-laden guitar sound that adds genuine prettiness to Bloc Party's edgy rush. But it's Kele Okereke's vocal that's the band's most flexible facet, morphing from frothing anger to breathless desperation. "Are you hoping for a miracle?" he bays, on "Helicopter". Yes? Well Silent Alarm ably fits the bill. --Louis Pattison

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