Bloc Party

    {grate 2.5/4}

    An off-the-charts freshman album can skyrocket a band from garage to glory, but sadly for this pub-crawling quartet, their smashing debut was no free ride. Two albums later, Bloc Party’s refusal to be typecast pushes them even further from a once-promised fame.

    At least there’s one constant in Bloc Party’s ever-wavering style: lead singer Kele Okereke’s love quarrel. But heartache is not the only motif gluing Intimacy’s head-bobbers to melancholy lullabies. Greek myth is also thrown into the mix — in divinely adorned singles “Mercury” and the gothic “Zepherus,” monastery chants are shadowed in a choir of chills. Only when the open-mic poet lets out his trademark wail of a lover’s lament do we remember that this is, after all, the same old Bloc Party.

    Though risk-taking should be credited where due, the sweet wind chimes of “Signs” can’t keep the plucks and prods of “Trojan Horse” from beating listeners with its tortutous ferocity, and scratchy marching band recordings with blatant lyrics like “I’m sitting in Soho trying to stay drunk” are cause for concern.

    But the most disappointing void in Intimacy is its absolute lack of danceability. By straying from their trademark disco-ready bounce, fans are now left with cuts such as the obnoxious “Ares,” a stain of video-game beeps and migraine-inducing sirens, or polar-opposite “Biko,” an emotional Coldplay ripoff. “One Month Off” best captures the band’s happy medium with choppy lyrics and a toe-tapping beat, but for those who kept their fingers tightly crossed that Bloc Party would resurrect its glory days, Intimacy is hardly the answer to their prayers.

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