Bloc Party were a band in need of a break back in 2009. They were burnt out and lead singer Kele had an itch for dance music that he had to scratch. With Four they return re-energised – and that’s putting it lightly.
A return to the likes of Silent Alarm would have been perfect for them and the fans but here as ever they still look to evolve. The result is one of the most frantic, brilliant rock albums of the year.
Rock being the optimum word. This is a party record bursting at the seams with energy, anger and cracking riffs. Opening track So He Begins To Lie prepares the listener for this. It may be the weakest on the album but it still serves well as a shot of adrenaline for what is to follow.
Adrenaline you’ll need to get the most out of 3×3. This is an enormous rock-out track tailor-made for trashing rooms and inciting riots. The venues of the UK better reinforce the foundations when the band eventually tour.
It’s balls-out heavy and not just a one off. There are plenty more tracks as powerful throughout the album, each great in their own right.
Four only pauses for breath twice, first with Day Four and then towards the end of album with The Healing. Highlights along the way include the riff-tastic Kettling, which could have been a Queens of the Stone Age single, and Coliseum, an entirely unexpected song that goes from Spaghetti Western twangs to a full-on metal riff on the turn of a dime. It’s one of the CD’s highlights.
Don’t fear though, the Bloc Party of old are still in there at their dance-pop best. V.A.L.I.S is something akin to a stomping Two Door Cinema Club track but it’s not long until the guitars are out in force again. It rounds off with We Are Not Good People, which indulges the band’s newfound darkness and spins it around a Biffy Clyro-like grunge guitar riff.
Bloc Party were a band crumbling under the pressure that their success had brought them. If a hiatus was needed it was for their own sanity rather than their music.
Those three years spent recuperating have been entirely justified by this tremendous return to form. They were always a band on the cusp of headlining festivals. Four is the album that takes them to the top of the bill.
Warn the neighbours, the party is back in full swing.