THE REGULAR REVIEW: Bloc Party – Four (Frenchkiss)
By Princess Stomper
There’s nothing wrong with Four. It’s a collection of solidly written, flawlessly performed indie rock songs that sound almost exactly like Muse, and therein lies the problem. There just isn’t any reason for Four to exist. I’d say it had a lot of energy, but it doesn’t really – just sequences of chords played quickly, which is not the same thing. It wouldn’t be bad if it didn’t sound like a weaker version of Foo Fighters on a good day. I wouldn’t have listened to this at all were it not for Daniel Thackray’s unorthodox review. What’s most surprising is that I don’t hate it at all. It’s not offensively bad, or even really bad. It’s just … unnecessary. As superfluous to pop’s great canon as Necessary is essential.
Of all the records I’ve ever heard, Four is one of them.
I’m listening to ‘3×3’. Muse’s existence makes Bloc Party redundant. (Muse and Radiohead never nullified each other because Muse zigged when Radiohead zagged; Muse simply picked up the slack when they changed direction. If Muse bounded off into Venezuelan flute jazz, there might be a vacancy for Bloc Party, but I don’t see that happening soon.) ‘Octopus’ continues in the vein of every other track on here: each meticulously-arranged, competently performed, glossy and inoffensive coffee table slab of radio-friendly complaint rock.
“If God is Got then why is he secret?” they ask on ‘We Are Not Good People’. It’s boil-in-the-bag existential angst for people who thought The Butterfly Effect was deep. It’s rock for the rock heat of The X-Factor. It’s Gap Music.
By ‘Day Four’ I’m actually starting to feel depressed. Time is precious and I’m wasting this on Glee-rock. (A perverse smile creeps over my face as I imagine Rachel’s autotuned overwrought earnestness. The “spontaneous” corridor dance moves. A duet.) I can’t imagine anyone other than Muse fans who’d need this in their lives: I’m purely reviewing this because now we had your attention I thought it was only fair to give it a decent hearing.
Can I in all conscience recommend this? To the Muse fan, sure. To anyone else? It’s not awful – but every single second you spend with this is a second you could have spent with this
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