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Silent Alarm

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Album Review

Much more polished, serious, and straight-ahead than their initial EPs suggested, Bloc Party's debut album, Silent Alarm, reveals them as a band equally informed by taut art-punk and the grand gestures and earnestness of groups like Coldplay and U2. Though they're not quite as stadium-sized expansive as either of those two bands (yet), Bloc Party sound a lot more comfortable making proclamations like "Positive Tension"'s "Something glorious is about to happen/A reckoning!" than contemporaries like Franz Ferdinand or the Futureheads would be. Silent Alarm is also more varied than Bloc Party's early work indicated it might be, spanning edgy pop, atmospheric ballads, and angular, percussive tracks that are all served well by the album's big, layered production. The great single "Banquet" and even better opening track, "Like Eating Glass," put Bloc Party's heart-on-sleeve emotions in the service of tight, energetic songwriting that makes their earnestness a little easier to swallow. The gorgeous ballads also make the most of Bloc Party's emotional directness: "Blue Light," "This Modern Love," and "So Here We Are" are some of Silent Alarm's finest moments, with a tension and impact that show how powerful even their softest songs can be. As both the band and album's names imply, Silent Alarm is an overtly political album. Bloc Party fare better than many other bands that dip into that fray, but the results are still mixed: the well-intentioned no-blood-for-oil sentiments of "Price of Gas" are heavy-handed, but "Helicopter"'s Bush-bashing and the antiwar "Pioneers" ("We promised the world we'd tame it/What were we hoping for?") are relatively subtle, and work fairly well as political pop manifestos. As dynamic as Silent Alarm is, it's not perfect: Kele Okereke's yelpy vocals get a little grating on the less melodic songs, and the second half of the album doesn't quite sustain the momentum it had at the beginning, although the bonus remixes of "Plans" by Mogwai, and "Pioneers"" by M83 help make up for this. Although it wouldn't hurt if there were more "party" (the celebratory kind, not the political one) in Silent Alarm, it's still a fine debut album with a lot of passion and polish; it's hard not to respect, if not fully embrace, the intensity and integrity of Bloc Party's music.

Customer Reviews

Bloc Party great live, Slient Alarm when they sell out

These four British lads give an amazing and energetic live performance, not to be missed. But for those concerts that sell out or don't come to your town, pop this album into iTunes and enjoy the next best thing. Bloc Party follows in the foot steps of Franz Ferdinard, but their sounds is far more pronounced. Even with great guitar solos, Bloc Party has a fresher sound thanks to the unique lead vocals of Kele Okerere. Silent Alarm has a number of good yeah-I-can-dance-to-this-live quality songs mixed with a few mellow ballads that don’t completely rely on the lyrics. Bloc Party sound a bit like the Cure, but that’s mostly from the mix of guitar and slightly-nasal vocals, but Bloc doesn’t play alternative music as if they’re angry at the parents. Also, there is an Explicit Lyrics advisory on this album and after listening to the album at least 20 times, I’ve yet to find those lyrics. Bloc Party has an amazing fresh sound that doesn’t wear out in heavy rotation. The energy coming out of Bloc Party live drifts into your ears off their well-rounded album. Already with a strong cult following among the indie-rock kids, Bloc Party is on the way to being huge. In the end, their young, cute and play good music.

This album was not like eating glass

This is Bloc Party's best album, it set the tone for what their future sounds would be, but preceeding albums cant compare, this one is filled with hits, great and sometimes amusing lyrics, and really delightfully different melodies.

Are you hoping for a miracle?

This album is a miracle!

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
Silent Alarm, Bloc Party
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Rock, Indie Rock, Electronic
  • Released: Mar 22, 2005

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