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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

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With the release of the Mercury single, several of the Bloc Party faithful were concerned (perhaps even understandably) that the track would exemplify the sound of the other songs on the album. I do believe, however, that with listening to the entirety of the new album, most listeners will find that their fears will not be actualized and that there will be little reason for disappointment. I often face difficulties when trying to classify Bloc Party within one particular genre, but I can honestly say that I believe it is the very inability to categorize their unique sound that is at least one of the major reasons for their appeal (to me, at least). Also, with several other bands, you can hardly tell when one track on an album ends and the other begins (whether the technique is deliberate or not, I still disagree with those who will suggest that this is an asset), but what has fascinated me, and continues to captivate me, about Bloc Party is that each track is comprised of its own unique qualities, each has its own unique sound, but the idiosyncracies of each individual song never seem to disrupt the unity or cohesion of the album. I believe it is a skill that any band can accomplish, yes, but few can accomplish it with such precision and control as can be experienced here. This is what drew me to Silent Alarm, what recaptured my attention in A Weekend in the City, and I sense something similar happening again.

Bless Bloc Party (B+)

Bloc Party's third album, Intimacy, is an excellent offering from one of the most innovative of the new wave of indie bands. Truly, we see that the band is not afraid to deviate from their original influences, and merge their original post-punk sound with a bit more dance/electronica. "Ares" and "Mercury", the first two tracks on the album, illustrate this perfectly with their Chemical Brothers-esque beats and production. Ares in particular is an interesting track, with siren-like guitars howling over a rave-like vocal. "Halo" then dissolves into a rocker much like those on Silent Alarm: Big guitars, insistent drums, poignant lyrics. "Biko" is a soft ballad that seems to be about a lover dying of cancer, but, sadly, despite the perfect opportunity for an intense build-up, the song never explodes like you want it to. "Trojan Horse" is among my favorite Bloc songs so far, with Kele's vocals achieving a dramatic pitch, much like those on AWITC and a blistering guitar solo. I have heard "Signs" compared with Sufjan Stevens' music, and it's a fair comparison, with soft vocals over glockenspiel and keyboards. "One Month Off" is a little too simplistic for my taste, it feels like a potentially good track that just needed a couple more days' work on it. "Zephyrus" is one of the most experimental and rewarding songs, a chorus mashed up with heavy drum machines. "Talons" is an excellent song with a gorgeous guitar riff and a passionate vocal. "Better Than Heaven" sounds very Cure-like, culminating in a dramatic guitar attack at the end of the song. "Ion Square" is classic Bloc Party, touching, thoughtful, memorable. "Letter To My Son" is an underrated gem that sounds slightly like some of the ballads on Silent Alarm. "Your Visits Are Getting Shorter" is an electronic ballad if there can be such a thing. And "Flux" is catchy dance punk that stays in your mind. On this CD, Bloc Party recaptures the energy found on Silent Alarm. AWITC was a very atmospheric work, and this is a gorgeous piece of art rock. The downfalls are slight but clearly evident. There isn't really any sense in the running order, I highly reccommend finding a better one yourself. Some songs, like Signs and Biko, just plead for a build-up, but they merely dissolve into nothing, leaving a slight sense of dissatisfaction. And overall, I think the album could have benefited from an extra month or two on the recording and production, but the music on the album overshadows these flaws. Highly reccommended if you are at all a fan of indie rock.


I just wrote the longest review and itunes F*&#ed it up by timing me out! There's no way I'm letting that happen again. All I will say is This cd is AMAZING, BP fans need to give it a good listen, another evolving sound by BP and even if you don't love it like Silent Alarm at first, it grows on you like crazy. New listeners, welcome to the greatest band out there, NO ONE sounds like Bloc Party, and they put on the best live show i've ever seen. My favorites off Intimacy: Biko, Signs, Better than Heaven, Halo. The entire cd is solid. The only band who can push the envelope and yet there is not a single song they've put out which I dislike...CRAZY!! BUY THIS you won't be disappointed!!! BEST of 2008, Bloc Party has done it again! You guys are the S#*T!


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

Customer Ratings