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Music / Bloc Party

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Bloc Party are a British rock band formed in 1999. They're often stuck on the indie label, mainly due to their first album, Silent Alarm, being weighed amongst other indie albums of the time. However, with the second and third albums they have branched into a more electronic-sound while still maintaining some elements of indie rock. The fourth album, imaginatively named Four, features a heavier guitar sound that steers back into Silent Alarm territory and keeps going past the stopping point.

As of 2015, The band currently consists of:

  • Kele Okereke - Lead vocals, rhythm guitar
  • Russell Lissack - Lead guitar
  • Justin Harris - Bass, synths
  • Lousie Bartle - Drums

Former members:

  • Gordon Moakes - Bass, synths, backing vocals (2001-2015)
  • Matt Tong - Drums (2001-2013)

Their six albums are:

  • Silent Alarm (2005)
  • A Weekend in the City (2007)
  • Intimacy (2008)
  • Four (2012)
  • Hymns (2016)
  • Alpha Games (2022)

They also released two EPs in 2004 prior to Silent Alarm; Bloc Party, and Little Thoughts.

The band had been on hiatus from 2009 to 2011, with 3 out of 4 members doing separate projects; Kele released his solo album The Boxer in 2010, Russell teamed up with Milena Mepris of Black Moustache to form Pin Me Down, and Gordon Moakes joined Young Legionnaire with Paul Mullen of The Automatic fame. However, they have returned with a new album, Four, and are touring again.

The band and their music contains examples of:

  • Ancient Rome: "Coliseum" draws parallels between boxing and Roman gladiator fights.
  • Animated Music Video: The band love these.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Corinthians 15:22, referenced in "Better Than Heaven".
  • Body Horror: Well, that's what happens when you hire Cyriak to make a music video for your song "Ratchet".
  • Break-Up Song: "Like Eating Glass".
    • Intimacy is a goldmine of these, being written after a bad breakup of Kele's.
    • Also, the b-side "We Were Lovers".
    • 'The Present' counts, although it's more of a 'we broke up some time ago and I'm still quite upset about that and wish we could get back together'.
  • B-Side: The band have released loads of these; probably as much as their studio material (if you count the EPs), to the point where 'fake' albums comprised entirely of Bloc Party b-sides (such as "Another Weekend in the City") began to appear on torrent sites. ...Or So I Heard.
  • But We Used a Condom!: Implied in "Letter to My Son", where the narrator laments the consequences (the titular son) of a sexually charged love affair.
    See what trouble we could both cause
    By the bedroom door, the kitchen floor
    I tried, I tried, I tried
    Oh Marlena, I'm too young to be the father to our son
    Forgive me Oscar
  • Cain and Abel: Played with in "Cain Said to Abel".
  • Concept Album: A Weekend in the City - an album of snapshots of different people in London.
  • Crapsack World: The general overarching theme of A Weekend in the City. It's a world where people consume excessive quantities of drugs to numb the pain of their otherwise dull, unfulfilled lives, where racism and discrimination are an everyday fact of life and can sometimes result in being murdered just for possessing a trait arbitrarily considered undesirable by someone else, and where, despite being surrounded by people, the denizens feel more alone than ever. Some even kill themselves over it. And it's our world of course.
  • Cute Bookworm: The target of "Better than Heaven"'s protagonist's affections.
    Put down your books, and notice me
  • Darker and Edgier: While Silent Alarm was hardly a light album in terms of lyrical content, the second and third albums delve into much darker topics such as drug use, suicide, and deaths of loved ones.
    • Four may also count.
  • Growing Up Sucks: "Banquet" gives us this line:
    Turning, away from the light; Becoming, adult! Turning, into myself!
  • Hearing Voices: "She's Hearing Voices".
  • Hidden Track: "Every Time Is The Last Time", an instrumental ambient track, is Track 0 on the original release of Silent Alarm.
  • Love Nostalgia Song: "I Still Remember", about a childhood crush from another boy towards another.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: Their dancier songs, such as "One More Chance" and "Flux", are about failed/failing relationships.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: The narrator of "Better Than Heaven" certainly thinks so.
  • New Sound Album: Bloc Party's debut album Silent Alarm was well received and known for its heavy use of guitars and was generally considered an example of an excellent indie album. As the band's career progressed they released A Weekend in the City and Intimacy, two albums with increasingly dancier music and less emphasis on guitars and other standard indie fare.
    • For example, with Intimacy, "Ares" and "Mercury" are a complete departure from Silent Alarm, but by the third track, "Halo", the guitars return and we're reminded of their early stuff.
    • "The Prayer" from A Weekend In The City was at least partly inspired by the cheerleader handclap intro to the video for the Daft Punk-sampling Busta Rhymes song "Touch It".
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Helicopter" and "Banquet", among others.
  • Precision F-Strike: "Positive Tension". The music builds and builds and then stops for just long enough for him to yell, "So fucking useless."
  • Post-Punk
  • Punny Name: was named from the term block party, a large public party where everyone in a neighbourhood gets together. Extra punny given that a bloc is "a group of persons, businesses, etc., united for a particular purpose", often centered around politics (which is also true of some of Bloc Party's lyrics).
  • Ripped from the Headlines: "Kettling", about the 2011 England riots, and "Hunting for Witches", about post-7/7 media hysteria.
    • The song "England", about the 'happy slapping' fad of the mid-late 2000s.
    • "Uniform" and "Version 2.0", cast a scathing view of 2000s mosher/emo culture.
    • The song "The Answer" gives an overview of the contemporary Western world, using imagery such as 'pretty pretty boy sucking on a cola, money to burn' and 'bomb us back together'.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: "She's Hearing Voices" is about a girl suffering from bipolar disorder.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Oh, yes.
  • Shirtless Scene: The video for 'Talons' has scenes of Kele running through a building with his shirt off.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Lyrics from 'Hunting for Witches'. 'Sitting on the roof of my house with a shotgun and a sixpack of beer', used to illustrate the fear stirred up by the media after the 7/7 bombings.
  • Surreal Music Video: For "Ratchet", where they turned a montage of past music videos into this trope.
  • Teens Are Monsters: Explored by a few songs from the A Weekend in the City era from different socio-economic perspectives. 'Uniform' and 'Version 2.0' take a more disappointing/disapproving tone re: the lack of individuality and spirit displayed by the middle/upper-working class youngsters who conformed to various subcultures such as 'emos' back in the first half of the 2000s. The song 'England' takes a much darker tone, exploring the phenomenon of 'chavs', working-class youngsters who, lacking any meaningful purpose in life, roam the streets committing violent acts.
  • The Man Is Sticking It to the Man: "Uniform" is about, in their own words, "Commerce dressed up as rebellion".
  • Watch It Stoned While the song "On" doesn't promote cocaine, it does try to explain its appeal from a first person perspective.
    • The Prayer does something similar, but with a social angle.
  • Wham Line: "Because I love my mind when I'm fucking you." - "Ion Square".