Just a few weeks ago, MTV2 debuted the video for Bloc Party’s dance-punk anthem “Banquet” on Subterranean, the indie rock-focused show that 120 Minutes eventually became. Having just discovered the song myself, I found their airing of the video to be a highlight of my evening. Hell, I could have watched it twice. And, it turned out, I actually did. Someone at the boards made the mistake (or brilliant plot) of playing the video again, later on in the broadcast. Watching the British foursome’s heads bob up and down for a second time just cemented in my mind how awesome they are. And if you’re still catching up, Bloc Party is the shit.
Bloc Party’s self-titled debut US EP is bursting with energy. It’s abrasive. It’s catchy. It’s wiry. It’s paranoid. It’s spastic. It’s everything a punk record should be, and then some. Part of that “and then some” is a remix, but we’ll get to that later.
In the brief expanse of the disc, the quartet treads over familiar territory, but, like the good travelers they are, leave something of their own everywhere they go. In “Banquet,” they marry taut, scratchy guitar chords with a melodic, almost pretty, chorus and lead singer Kele Okereke’s (coolest frontman name ever) falsetto vocals. It’s easy to see why it was chosen as a single — it’s absolutely irresistible. “Staying Fat” and “The Answer” are relatively straightforward Wire-inspired punk songs, borrowing a lot from late-seventies post-punk whilst upholding their own originality and unique identity. And “She’s Hearing Voices” is the most bizarre moment on the record, sounding somewhat mechanical and menacing, though still fun and accessible.
The only low point on the record is the remix of “Banquet.” For the life of me, I can’t figure out why anyone would need to remix the song, as it’s likely to get the skinny white kids (or kids of other ethnicities, nobody’s excluded) out on the dance floor and shaking their scrawny things. But even in remixed form, it’s pretty good, so why complain?
Bloc Party is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting debut’s to hit these shores in recent months and there’s only more to come. Another single, “Tulips” (also quite good), is being released soon, and their full-length is due out in March. In the meantime, you can keep these six tracks playing over and over until we get there.
Futureheads – 1-2-3-Nul!
Wire – Chairs Missing
Gang of Four – Yellow EP
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.