Music Reviews
Silent Alarm

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

(V2) Buy it from Insound Rating - 9/10

It seems like a good time to be smart in rock music at the moment. With bands like The Futureheads, British Sea Power and the ubiquitous Franz Ferdinand putting the ampersand into Rock & Roll by not being afraid to admit to (shock horror) reading more than one book in their lives, it's not hard to see how a band such as Bloc Party would be able to find a record deal in such a climate. After all, in the (drum roll) Great Garage Rock Explosion Of 2001 ©, record labels frantically rushed to sign any band within earshot that sounded like they had more than a passing acquaintance with the work of MC5, and more frequently than not most of these thrown-together bands produced a couple of a couple of carbon-copy singles and faded into deserved obscurity. So, as I said earlier, are Bloc Party the real thing, or are they just a facsimile; a cut-and-paste job designed to fill the gap whilst Franz Ferdinand are off conquering the world? The answer, pleasingly enough, is a resounding NO.

On first listen, Silent Alarm bears all of the hallmarks of a typical debut album by any band out there at the moment. With it's stop-start staccato rhythms and unrelenting pace, it provides the necessary rush required to quicken the heart beat and have you heading for the dance floor of your local indie disco to cut some sensitive indie-kid rug. But on repeated listens, the album blossoms into something rather special. It's not just the music that astounds on this album; it's the pure unbridled EMOTION that lies behind every chord struck and every word sung that blows you away. You get a sense that every word sung on this album has meaning, one that reaches far beyond the verse-chorus-verse-chorus nature of modern alternative music. That is not to say that it sounds any different from anything out there; I'm just suggesting that it's a bit more genuine. Kele Okereke's steam of consciousness lyrics are a very hard to penetrate, with talk of boys being "So James Dean/So blue jeans" on Helicopter, and girls that have "Such a dirty mind" (Banquet). I found myself scratching my head quite a bit trying to get inside of the lyrics and see things through Kele's eyes until it dawned on me: It's meant to be confusing. That's what life is like. It's just that most of us don't set these experiences to music, let alone music that sounds like The Pixies having a knife fight with Blur on Brighton beach. And it's certainly a lot better than hearing some hairy-palmed clod singing about how his woman has 'Done him wrong'.

Sensitive enough to charm you, yet with songs hard enough and strong enough to keep you from getting bored, Silent Alarm is already a strong contender for debut album of the year. Packed full of tight, taught, yelping, no-flab-here-please-we're-post-punk stormers, with Silent Alarm Bloc Party have exploded the myth that sounding authentic and 'Real' (whatever that means) means that you have to have a limited intellect and a minute record collection. This record may or may not be the soundtrack to your life, but I can confidently state that the soundtrack to your life would certainly be a little less interesting if you didn't own this album.