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Intimacy (Deluxe Version)

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Album Review

Intimacy would have been a good name for Bloc Party's previous album, A Weekend in the City, which was so vulnerable and confessional that it often felt like barely edited diary entries set to music. The album's take on 21st century life and love was heavy listening in large part because it felt so personal. Bloc Party's mood is just as dark on Intimacy, which plays a lot like A Weekend in the City's mirror twin: it's a breakup album that gives personal situations a political heft. The similarities aren't really that surprising, considering that Intimacy arrived just a year and a half after A Weekend in the City and also features production work by Jacknife Lee (as well as Silent Alarm producer Paul Epworth). The album begins with two of Bloc Party's angriest, most experimental songs, which revisit the beat-heavy territory of A Weekend in the City's "Prayer" with even more charged results. "Ares" is a modern-day war chant, with seething processed guitar lines fueled by huge pummeling drums, the likes of which haven't been heard since the big beat heyday of the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy. "Mercury" is cleverly astrological, using a straight description of Mercury's retrograde conditions ("This is not the time to start a new love/This is not the time to sign a lease") as a springboard to a self-loathing rant set to wildly spiraling brass and more of those bludgeoning beats. Bloc Party push the envelope hard on both of these tracks, almost to the point of pretension, but not quite; actually, it's a little anticlimactic when they return to more familiar terrain like "Halo," which could fit in easily among Silent Alarm's angsty rockers.

However, the band does find subtle ways to tweak and channel that angst: "Biko" (not the Peter Gabriel song) is dedicated to Kele Okereke's "sweetheart the melancholic," but when he sings that "you've got to toughen up," he sings it to himself as much as his lost love, and as the song closes with a swell of backing vocals, it's clear that he's singing about more than something between two people. The band captures post-breakup obsession masterfully on the frosty yet strangely hopeful "Signs," where the way Okereke sings "I could sleep forever these days/'Cause in my dreams I see you again" makes this kind of brooding almost as romantic as actually being in love. "Zephyrus" balances Intimacy's heartbreak and experimental tendencies into a standout, setting snippets of an argument to strings, choral vocals, and sputtering rhythms. "Ion Square" ends the album on a somewhat uplifting note along the lines of Silent Alarm's "So Here We Are" or A Weekend in the City's "I Still Remember," and as good as it is, it underscores the album's push-pull between familiar sounds and breaking boundaries. At times, Intimacy feels rushed and predictable, and at others, it's almost painfully ambitious. However, at its best, it balances Silent Alarm's focus with A Weekend in the City's expansiveness. [Intimacy was also released with bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews

Throw a party for bloc party

This is seriously an amazing album, i love Bloc party. This album definetely has the essence of Bloc Party, they definetly have some different sounds on various tracks, but they still keep up with the fantastic melodies and lyrics which make me laugh and blow my mind at the same time. It dosnt surpase Silent Alarm, but it is barely exceeded. Buy this album, listen to it over and over because it's worth it. Bloc Party deserves 5 stars and 2 thumbs up! Tracks to check out: "Talons" "One Month off" and "Zephyrus" which has an amazing melody! enjoy this album i certainly will be!

good stuff but id actually give it 4.5 stars rather than 5....

very solid album. they took a new direction. again. i think that should be expected from them now. the first track, ares blew my mind when i first heard it. but the others unfortunately (in my opinion) don't give the same kick. but it's bloc party. their slow tracks are awesome too. in response to a couple other reviews on here: i think the album cover is appropriate. yeah its a bit shocking. but so what? also, flux is on here because its the north american bonus track and it wasn't on the last album. but yeah i don't think it belongs here either. cop this.

Great 3rd effort for Bloc Party

I was mildly impressed when I first listened to this record, disapointed at the lack of guitars, and for the songs with guitars, there were almost no hooks to really, well get hooked on. It started with "Signs", which could be the key to this record. In any case, it's a grower and definitely worth it, much more interesting than "Weekend in the city" was, which felt just like a lukewarm pastiche of the softer side of Silent Alarm. Kudos on the experiments and a brave new direction, without losing who they are. Best songs are "Mercury", "Halo", "Signs", "One month off", "Better than Heaven" and "Ion Square".

Biography

Formed: London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Equally inspired by Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Gang of Four, and the Cure, East London art punkers Bloc Party mix angular sonics with pop structures. Consisting of singer/guitarist Kele Okereke, guitarist Russell Lissack, bassist/singer Gordon Moakes, and drummer Matt Tong, the band was formerly known as Angel Range and Union before settling on Bloc Party. Okereke and Lissack met each other through mutual friends at the Reading Festival, and discovered that they had musical tastes as well as friends...
Full bio
Intimacy (Deluxe Version), Bloc Party
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  • $11.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Rock, Adult Alternative, Indie Rock
  • Released: Oct 28, 2008

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