That kabob money Bloc Party paid to the hype pimp was well-spent. In a short year the London unit has zoomed from chatted-about demo status to being the proper noun in a thousand overheard rock club conversations. Yelled: “This is Bloc Party! They’re the new—” … and there’s the problem. Because Bloc Party isn’t the new anything. Capably crafted couture-rock for college grads buying The Face, maybe. But not new. Silent Alarm, the full-length debut, tacks tin treble guitars to energetic but flat drumming in a modern style suggestive of post-punk swallowing an old Blur album. There are slower moments where Kele Okereke actually sings, but mostly he just dials his accent up and down for punchy phrases and the occasional anti-government jag. There are some successes. “Positive Tension” builds predictably but nicely to a rocking riot, and the hooks driving impatient single “Banquet” are serrated enough to scratch the bodies of dance-floor first-responders. But Silent Alarm doesn’t cut deeper than its decent first impression. It’s like a duet between Okereke and the guitars, Bloc Party’s only resonant components. And in the end Alarm only triggers the thought that U2’s 1983 single “Two Hearts Beat as One” was pretty great.
Friday, April 1, at the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700) with the Ponys.
Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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