Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (Cover Artwork)

Bloc Party

Silent Alarm (2005)


Ever since Franz Ferdinand mysteriously made the big time, especially in the UK, people have been searching for a band who are going to achieve a similar feat and gain success from pretty much out of nowhere. Four-piece Bloc Party are the latest band to be hyped to the maximum, even though they are not as outwardly commercial as Franz / Razorlight / the Libertines.

Their first full-length, Silent Alarm, goes a long way to -- for once -- justifiying the industry hype. A more abrasive and challenging record than you would expect, Bloc Party never really stick to one style and in that respect are consistently keeping up the listener's interest. Vocalist Kele Okereke is a pretty strong vocalist, even if he reminds me a bit of the dude from Ikara Colt, and he really leaves an impression. The drumming is also excellent throughout, with frantic beats and time changes evident on most of the tracks, especially "Banquet" and "Little Thoughts." Bloc Party can go from reminding you of the Cure to sounding like the Strokes (albeit more musically talented) in a short space of time, but you couldn't really call them derivative or unoriginal, which given ther weight of expectation suddenly placed on their shoulders, is to the band's credit. Even though most of the tracks could get you jumping around, there are more somber moments on Silent Alarm too, like on "This Modern Love" and "So Here We Are," which was a big Top 5 hit in the UK and cemented BP's place as a band with a bright future. Even during moments of reflection, the music takes twists and turns so you don't really get bored of the material at any point.

Bloc Party are experts at carving out intricate melodies, fast and frantic breakdowns and the occasional catchy chorus -- especially on "Helicopter," which is the album's best track as far as I'm concerned. There aren't a great many flaws with Silent Alarm; maybe they (at very rare) moments focus a little too much on making the music as hectic as possible, but this is only a minor complaint. Fans of lively rock music which doesn't conform to a particular type should really try to track down this album as you might be pleasantly surprised by its quality, and if they ever come to your town, their live show is not to be missed either.

Here's hoping they don't feel to much pressure to impress on their second album, because at this rate they could become the best British band for quite a while.