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"Silent Alarm"  Bloc Party  Release date: 2004  Label: Wichita/V2 Japan

Anyone familiar with the steady flow of singles that Bloc Party have been releasing over the last year or so will know that there are two sides to the Bloc Party sound. There are the icy, cut glass pop jewels like "Helicopter" and "Banquet", all angular post-punk guitars and toe-tapping rhythms, then there are the sleepy indie anthems that will have Japanese music fans going "Sugee! Supercar ni niteiru, ne!" and have everyone else going "Hmm... sounds like Ride".

In an act of predictable record company manipulation, the first half of the album is loaded with the former type so that people who hear it on the listening stations in record shops will be tricked into thinking the whole album's going to be like that. And what a great first half of an album it is. "Like Eating Glass" is magnificent, Kele Okereke once again proving himself one of the most powerful and affecting vocalists of his generation, and "She's Hearing Voices" is awesome and without a doubt the best track on the album, coming on like T-Rex one second and effecting seamless metamorphosis into Public Image Limited the next.

However, rather like The Killers' debut album, the second half is a big disappointment. "Blue Light" is actually a warning light, with a forgettable melody that they attempt to enliven with some annoying, lumpy drumming. "This Modern Love" is a better example of the same kind of polite indie rock, although not as good as the absent-without-leave earlier single "Little Thoughts". Elsewhere, "So Here We Are" has a kind of Radiohead vibe to it if, like so many evidently are, you're into that kind of thing, and "Luno" and "Price Of Gasoline" at least offer a bit of life in the second half; but the closing duo of "Plans" and "Compliments" are as blank as their neo-shoegazer titles suggest and as a result, where the album should have finished spectacularly, it is merely nice. -Ian Martin, Feb.22.05.

Bloc Party [Silent Alarm] 2005 Silent Alarm

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