Released: 20th August 2012
“I was feeling my breast…it was a turkey breast…I was keeping abreast of the situation…” muses a bewildered Kele Okereke between tracks – an example of the miscellaneous asides littering the album which echo the title of the quartet’s fourth record and illustrate the studio-camaraderie vibe that the band seems to be going for with their latest outing.
Contrived as these deviations may feel at times, the quality of the band’s latest undertaking does speak volumes of the group’s ability to work together as musicians and produce music of consistently high quality since their debut record.
Superficially, Four sounds like any other Bloc Party album and, like the three records that precede it, demands the listener invest a certain amount of time before giving up the goods. However, the record takes on a life of its own thereafter, and only improves with time.
‘Real Talk’ and ‘Coliseum’ are definite highlights – the former highlighting how the band shines when dealing with matters of a more personal nature; the latter illustrating their ability to change tack entirely and deliver something more frantic, awash with heavy guitar work and fevered vocals.
‘V.A.L.I.S.’ is also a treat – not least because it borrows both thematically and in title from Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi novel of the same name.
That said, Four doesn’t really break much new ground. However, nor is it derivative. While the record does lose some of its sheen towards the end, no track ever feels stale or unoriginal.
The result is an exquisitely produced record and a top-notch Bloc Party album. While there will be those who will undoubtedly claim to have heard it all before, Four is sure to delight all but the most unwavering of pessimists.
In a nutshell: A flawless effort that doesn’t break the mould, but will deliver on all fronts for diehard aficionados and passive enthusiasts alike.
by Ethan Troy-Barnes