CD Review of Intimacy by Bloc Party
Recommended if you like
Franz Ferdinand, The Futureheads, Prodigy
Wichita Records
Bloc Party: Intimacy

Reviewed by Jim Washington


n epidemic of boogie fever has broken out among the indie rock ranks. Earthy innovators My Morning Jacket, art rockers TV on the Radio and now Brit new wave revivalists Bloc Party have recently put out albums simmered in some block-rockin’ beats.To critics who wondered where the "party" in Bloc Party was, here you go. Although it may not be the happiest party you’ve ever attended.

Of course, as an upstanding member of the new new wave, Bloc Party could always make you move, but it was their ballads that kept them near the top of the class. That’s what made last year’s underrated A Weekend in the City such as pleasure. It was dark, certainly, full of odes to urban alienation (the line "east London is a vampire" sticks out in the memory). Even poppier standouts like the soaring "The Prayer" from that album revealed someone just trying to fit in. The environmental foreboding of Weekend actually leads perfectly to the heartbreak evident on Intimacy.

What, you thought because it brought the beats, it would be a happy album?

Intimacy (the title is ironic) is a bruising listen, and not solely due to the pounding, Prodigy-like beats of the opening one-two punch of "Ares" and "Mercury." They get the blood pumping, as singer Kele Okereke consults his horoscope to discover that it’s not a good time to start a new love, or sign a lease for that matter. Once you get past that, the album alternates between ear-grabbing rockers like "Halo" and "One Month Off" and slower, more introspective fare such as "Signs" and "Biko." "What’s with all this doom and gloom," Okereke asks at one point. "You used to be such a laugh."

There’s plenty of doom and gloom to go around as he mourns a lost love, comparing the relationship to death more than once. On "Biko" he tells either the lover – or himself – to "toughen up," and calls whatever has happened to their love a "cancer." He mourns the loss on "Trojan Horse," singing, "You were here, I was here/ There was something real here, I know there was." Bloc Party have definitely made something real with this album.

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