Bloc Party – Four

The electro experimentation of 2008’s lukewarm Intimacy has been swapped out for American guitar grunt as Bloc Party return from exile to see if they still have the magic they once had.

While Bloc Party have never shied away from a good rocking out, they’ve never sounded this brazen. Where once staccato guitar strums would drive songs, the big riffs of ‘Coliseum’ swing under biting overdrive and fuzzy solos. Ballads and slow burners are few and far between, and after two records covering his tumultuous love life it’s nice to hear frontman Kele Okereke, sneering and thumbing his nose on ‘Team A’. Not all moments on the record are a success, however, and the band sometimes find themselves playing against their strengths (‘Kettling’, for example, indulges too much in plodding fuzz and never reaches boil).

Four will provide instant gratification for those dying for a Bloc Party fix and entice newer fans, but it will more likely act as a gateway to their older material than stand on its own for too long.