Silent Alarm

Studio Album by released in 2005
Silent Alarm's tracklist:
Like Eating Glass
Positive Tension
Blue Light
She's Hearing Voices
This Modern Love
The Pioneers
Price of Gasoline
So Here We Are

Silent Alarm review

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. But 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. What is important is that they have a sense of adventure, romance, belief and intelligence, of art, a desire to explode preconceptions and exceed expectations that marks them out way above and beyond any of their perceived peers.

Silent Alarm is a debut about desperation, about being desperately angry at injustice, about being desperately confused with the world, about being desperately in love. It sets its aim high from the off, drums deliberately mixed too loud in opener Like Eating Glass in order to make you fully aware that something important and intense is about to happen. Sonic and spiritual reference points veer from Buzzcocks to Long Fin Killie via New Order, Gang Of Four, and Joy Division. Radiohead were they from London rather than Oxford, Disco Inferno before they found a sampler, Blur’s more awkwardly punk moments. There are thirteen tracks here spread over 50 minutes, but not once does the quality or pace dip below thrilling. Every track is bursting with ideas and inspired moments. The brief Blue Light turns down the volume but still finds a gentle edge that sounds almost Blur-like, This Modern Love describes loneliness with a backbeat, and the almost-ballad Plans slowly threatens to explode but succeeds by simmering and shimmying instead. Taken as a whole, Silent Alarm feels like a glorious dam burst, a blood rush harnessed and shaped into something that can both move and inspire movement.

Danceable yet desolate, Silent Alarm is a stuttering, occasionally painful journey through the minds of four confused twentysomethings in search of pills, thrills, bellyaches and a little bit of understanding. There's plenty here to suggest that they've spent many a late night in search of women, booze and forgiveness, probably in that exact order, but rarely has a tale of youthful frustration yielded results this consistently engaging. Despite its obvious pop smarts, Silent Alarm is more “art” than “rock”. What is truly magical on this album is how it astutely grafts the accoutrements of wiry post-punk austerity to pop hooks fortified with soulful melodic intent. Bloc Party understands that the grains of sand in the post-punk, angular funk hourglass are finite and quickly running out. In response, Bloc Party comes up with its own adrenalized composite with a healthy dose of new romantic pop that has the audacity to cop earnestly from Duran Duran — without a hint of irony — as much as it does from early The Cure.

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. This record may or may not be the soundtrack to your life, but we can confidently state that the soundtrack to your life would certainly be a little less interesting if you didn’t own this album.

Rate review4.96
Total votes - 427

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