U.K. dance-rock outfit Bloc Party stormed both sides of the pond in 2005 with the release of its debut full-length SILENT ALARM. Mixing airtight dance-floor rhythms with smart guitar-driven melodies and a hipster aesthetic, Bloc Party set itself apart from an overcrowded field of often over-hyped British bands, and established itself as a force extending beyond the latest music industry headline.
Bloc Party is an autonomous unit of un-extraordinary kids reared on pop culture between the years 1976 and the present day. They eventually concluded that their own attempts to imitate what had informed them could be innovative and fresh.
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 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 favor 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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