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Silent Alarm

Bloc Party

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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

Simply, A Perfect Debut.

I personally guarantee that not only does this album deliver exciting and innovating tracks, but it also provides a brilliant rawness... which makes the album seem almost live. Everything about the album can be classified 'Genius', it seems that every song has a meaning exaggerated by the complex lyricism. Each instrument has an excitingly different style for every song accompanied by each Band Members talent and their ability to excel (individually displayed through Russell Lissack's outstanding solos). Every emotion and sub-genre is explored and exploited, making you feel as if the albums taking you on a journey. But mainly, the overall outcome delivers 13 Genius, influential and unique Songs which can be comfortably listened to on repeat for days on end. Even though every Song is shear brilliance there is a small number of Tracks that stand out and prove to be truly amazing. For Example: Like Eating Glass - 9/10 (which has a climatic ending) Helicopter - 10/10 (possibly the gem of the album without any flaw. It's quite simply is musical perfection) Positive Tension - 9/10 (a great song finished with a powerful solo) She's Hearing Voices - 8/10 (overall, a Bloc Party classic) This Modern Love - 10/10 (a lyrically fantastic song with a theme to make one contemplate) The Pioneers - 10/10 ('Quality', another lyrically great song) ... But after my incessant ramblings i preach only one message. Buy this album because you'll love every second of it! It's worth every penny and it'll get you hooked on the musical Genius that is, Bloc Party.

Flawless

No faults of note on this album at all. Every song strong in its own right. Best are: Helicopter Banquet This Modern Love Compliments Great Album.

Silent Alarm

A Really Amazing record from a really amazing band. Ripped the crowd on the Other Stage at Glaston 09 To shreds. Best Tracks Are: Helicopter, Positive Tension, Banquet, So Here We Are & Compliments.

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...
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Silent Alarm, Bloc Party
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