You can all blame Radiohead for this. Ever since they, admittedly fairly arbitrarily, decided to give their last album In Rainbows away for free, everyone wants to do something to shake the record industry. Take England’s Bloc Party for instance. Just over a year following their penultimate album, 2007’s A Weekend in the City they announce a new album is in the works. Excited fans rejoice… for the time being at least.
However, Bloc Party has recently become interested in making it increasingly difficult to like their band. After promising a return to form, singer Kele Okereke released the lead-in single, “Mercury” in July. What should the song sound like? A dark-wave house party… of course. Semi-alienated and confused fans worry.
With talks of the album being released before the end of the year, Bloc Party held a live video chat on Monday August 18, during which they announce the title of their third album, Intimacy and its release date, August 21. In a vein similar to Radiohead’s In Rainbows, the album is being released in two forms: digital and physical. The digital release on August 21 via their website, and the physical release – complete with extra tracks – to be released in October. Frantic fans log on with mum’s credit cards
The album itself seems very much a response to the lackluster reception of Weekend. Fans and critics alike deemed it too conceptual, accusing it of being laced with a sense of over-importance. With overlong songs drowned in sound and heavy production – compliments of Jacknife Lee - the album flowed perhaps a little too well for its own good. The lack of any noticeable standout singles made for a difficult listen.
With Intimacy, Bloc Party recalls the fun making upbeat music. That is not to say the album rehashes their debut, Silent Alarm, as it holds about as much similarity to it as it does to dance artist MIA, which is to say “only a little.” Intimacy begins with the curious and jarring “Ares,” a song that is about as perplexing as witnessing a rabbit turn into a werewolf and eating a pigeon. With guitars imitating a siren, Okereke sings both in English and in Guttural-nonsense. With abrasive guitars and vocals, Bloc Party seems to still be interested in alienating fans.