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- Bloc Party »
What to say? Where to begin? Bloc Party have been cosseting your ears for a matter of months now, and they’re one of those so hot right now bands. And rightfully so. But this is a plead for clemency; end your fashonista love, ignore your Face-endorsed interest, submerge your pre-major album release oneupmanship. Open your eyes and tune your ears. Bloc Party are the real deal.
Even to use that phrase seems wrong, sullying somehow; to attach labels or even to propel them forwards is unnecessary. It will happen, it is happening. Spare them Jonathon Ross.
Tonight’s gig at the Islington Academy is a case in point. As we sweat in the bowels of an over-furnished room, beset by expensive branded drinks and surrounded by chattering Von Dutch devotees, we stand in anticipation for a band that has already circumnavigated the sharks of cool; for inside the eye of the storm is beauty, serenity, peace and purpose.
Already, last month’s Bloc Party is old Bloc Party. The ideas overflowing from the band today in their new songs is overwhelming. The re-design and reaffirmation of their old material leaves original recordings obsolete and skeletal. It seems that currently, Bloc Party are racing against time to fulfil their own potential. It’s quite scary.
Hence, The ‘Marshalls Are Dead’ has been transformed from a wiry, sparse eulogy to sloganeering into a juggernaut of a manifesto; Gordon Moake ‘s bass is seismic and enveloping, while Kele Okereke* contorts what used to be a fearsome yelp into an authoritative emote, full of fury, control and purpose. ‘She’s Hearing Voices’ is otherworldly in its delivery; furious, confrontational and so, so danceable. Russell Lissack sets the song alight with the sort of guitar pyrotechnics that belie his pubescent Bernard Butler look and hints toward the avant-garde genius of Jonny Greenwood. ‘Banquet’ is greeted like the musical event it is; and Kele pounds through it with breakneck speed, transforming it into a urgent hymn to disjointed love, underpinned by the jaw-dropping drumming of *Matt Tong. ‘This Modern Love’ is a song built of Liquid Gold, whilst an ecstatic, joyful ‘Little Thoughts’ is wide-eyed euphoric and propulsive.
The new songs offer a glimpse into Bloc Party’s future; raging beasts full of monitor-shattering guitar precision and convulsive rhythm. Like old Bloc Party, but everything more so, like old Bloc Party but oh-so new and oh-so exciting. Heady times. Unfortunately, new songs mean no ‘The Answer’, no ‘Like Eating Glass’, no ‘Staying Fat’, but…
Fears? That no band can hit a run like this forever without careering off the tracks, crashing into a brick wall because they just couldn’t stop. Like a genius scientist whose brain engorges itself with knowledge and greatness before finally exploding.
Slow down Bloc Party, you’re leaving us breathless and winded.
But oh so good.
Photo by Sonia Melot
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