Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Bloc Party - Silent Alarm - 2005

Debut albums can be tricky things to crack. Some people make explosive debuts and never do anything good again. Some people make terrible debuts and then get it right in their third or fourth try. Some people make debut albums that establish a sound they never veer from. Some people make debut albums and immediately change tact on their next one. And some people win giant accolades with their first album, then try and make sure they don't fall apart. Bloc Party mostly just made a great first album that people in England went nuts over, and only made a minor splash here.

"Silent Alarm" is Bloc Party's first album, and the band has gone through a number of rough patches since then, with an extended hiatus as the lead singer, Kele Okereke, putting out a solo album. There were even rumors that he was being replaced by the rest of the band, although those rumors never turned into something tangible. They put out "Four" in 2012 and then apparently decided to go back onto indefinite hiatus. They seem to be a band that teeters on the edge of implosion at any moment.

My first exposure to Bloc Party was season 1 finale of "How I Met Your Mother." That show just ended last night, after a 9 season run, and the ending was pretty divisive, but I really liked it. They've always had a good sense of music placement. Here's that scene from the end of season 1 for you, to remind you.

That's "This Modern Love" in the background. After watching it, I immediately went to the internet to find out who had made such a gorgeous guitar melody. And then I bought "Silent Alarm" immediately after.  And I've been listening to them since.

Bloc Party make angular rock, semi-post punk, with jittery guitar lines, and sometimes they write songs on the verge of heartbreak, and others on the verge of righteous anger. Softer songs like "This Modern Love" and "So Here We Are" stand in sharp contrast to the blasts of "Banquet" or "Helicopter."

They've made great albums with lots of amazing songs, but none of them have been as consistently amazing as "Silent Alarm." If you only get one Bloc Party album, start here.

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