Intimacy | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, November 27th, 2020  

Bloc Party



Nov 01, 2008 Year End 2008 - Best of 2008 Bookmark and Share

From the opening notes of  debut Silent Alarm, Bloc Party has given the impression of a band that’s in it for the long haul. Silent Alarm contained a perfect balance of adventurousness and safety, the latter in the form of tightly constructed pop songs. The band stretched a bit for follow-up A Weekend in the City, pushing its sound into new territory. On the third album, Intimacy, the band moves even farther away from its poppier roots, although none of it sounds too foreign.

The opener, “Ares,” finds vocalist Kele Okereke doing a one-man call and response worthy of Run-DMC. Throughout Intimacy, in fact, the specter of hip-hop looms large. Matt Tong’s ever-brilliant drumming has been tweaked and roughed up, making it sound robotic and menacing.

Menace waits just around every corner of Intimacy, as the band members tear through the first half of the record with a ferocity they have not previously displayed. “Halo” initially seems like it would fit on either of the band’s other albums, but it’s only in comparison with Intimacy’s initial rage that it sounds less intense by comparison. It’s a barnburner, though, despite some of Okereke’s weakest lyrics, “Maybe you’re the one/who’ll complete me.”

Bloc Party shifts into a lower gear on the second half of the record, with some well-placed breathers, including the Björk-esque “Signs” and “Biko.” “Signs,” in particular, contains some gorgeous guitar shades by Russell Lissack that compliment the chimes and tones that form the body of the song. It’s a beautiful piece of work.

Through three albums now, Bloc Party’s slowly shifting sound hasn’t alienated anyone by making too big of a leap. They are so solid and so confident that it seems inevitable that they will get many chances to slowly drift into more daring lands. But without more risk, they may be destined to make albums like Intimacy—accomplished and intriguing, but not life changing, not classic. (

Author rating: 7/10

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