BY: Megan Hundley, 8.21.08

Throw every notion you already had about Bloc Party out the window. Intimacy, the newest album from this booming British band is a whole new side to their musical talents. With fresh lyrics, including a few more blatantly vulgar phrases, and a more techno sounding sheen covering said album it completely shows Bloc Party turning a new leaf. With no song less than 3 minutes long, get ready to be entertained!

With the jarring initial track “Ares” begins almost angelically and then dives right in to the synthetic guitar sounds and outstanding drum beat. Kele chimes in with the first words on the track, “War war war war!” Initially, I thought this song reminded me of how I feel when I’m intoxicated. A mish-mash of sounds, words and tones. It’s fun, it’s interesting and it’s worth revisiting.

Then comes the second track “Mercury” ( which I saw Bloc Party perform live just a few weeks ago at Lollapalooza ’08 ) which I can definitely see being remixed sometime in the near future. It’s repetitive and catchy and a jumble of many different sounds.

“When I saw them play [“Mercury”] at Lolla, I thought it didn’t sound anything like what they’ve done before,” commented John McGuire, when asked about his thoughts on their new sound.

Track three, “Halo”, might be my favorite on the album. From the beginning you just want to get up and dance, jump around on things and sing along with Kele as he asks you to “Paralyze [him] with your kiss”. I was really hooked on this song by the break down. What an amazing tune! You really just have to listen to it.

Let’s slow it down for a bit with track four, kids. “Biko” is an easy, flowing song that makes you want to be in love with someone. It’s a very encouraging tune that really makes you feel a lot of different strong emotions in a 5 minute span. With lyrics like, “Biko, toughen up/ I need you to be strong”, it really makes you think that it was written about a cornerstone in someone’s life. It really made me think about my life and what I find important.

Then there’s “Trojan Horse”, the song that sounds like a good song to speed down a freeway listening to. It’s fast, entertaining and emits a spirit of pure carelessness and a need for something new. It’s commanding and OH MY GOSH, the break down is insane. I was going to go back and erase what I said about “Halo” but both break downs are equally enticing.

Next, “Signs” takes you on a trip to somewhere completely different from the rest of the album. In all honesty, I thought I was going to Mr. Rodger’s house at the beginning of this song. That was until the song took flight into the picture that Kele is trying to paint for the listener. It’s a calming, slightly adorable song, that has an underlying tone of irony because Kele begins talking about someone’s funeral and then you literally just get lost in the soothing music.

( photo by Caroline Doerhoff, Bloc Party at The Pageant, St. Louis, MO, 2007 )

Seventhly (that’s a word now), we are presented with “One Month Off”. It’s a complete 180 from the previous song. The thick and juicy baseline catches your attention and refuses to release its grip. I was lying before when I said that “Halo” was my favorite song because “One Month Off” takes the cake. It has an interest message that really connects with many of today’s bigger issues ( war, corruption, etc.) and puts it into perspective, for me at least. This songs is chalked full of synth sounds!

Track eight, “Zepherus” sounds a little bit like “The Prayer” off of A Weekend in the City, but only for a brief moment. This epic song is very ghostly and it really sticks with you after you listen to it. The back-up singers really make this track so shockingly different from the rest of the album. The lyrics are full of emotion and intense, what I felt was, anguish. It sounds like they are looking back on a certain conversation that went awry in the past. Very thought provoking, if I do say so myself.

“Better than Heaven”, the ninth track on Intimacy, is in a class of its own. The set up for this song builds up anticipation for what is to come. It’s certainly a step up in tempo from the previous song but it is still slightly less energetic than the rest of the more dance-worthy songs. Again, this must be the album of intense break downs because just around the 3-minute mark, you are blown away by the way the song builds up to such an explosion of immense sounds.

To wrap up this digital release we have “Ion Square”. A piano brings us in to Kele’s slightly raspy yet loving voice and brings us into the meat of this song. With over six minutes to bring this album to a close this song does its job to a “t”. It’s not too loud, too soft (to be really lame and make a reference to “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”), it is just right. More words from the heart and experiences of the members of Bloc Party are scattered all through out this song. I just want to hug all of them when they sing, “I carry your heart/ here with me.”

I think that these four (Kele, Russell, Gordon and Matt) must have just sat around with distortion pedals and a synthesizer for a year and just threw their awesomeness on them because that’s all I can think about when I listen to this album. I’ve fallen even more in love with Bloc Party, if that was possible, after I listened to Intimacy. A very strong third album that will surely keep them going for many more amazing albums to come.

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