Last time out, Bloc Party put its own desires before those of its fans, said Alex Denney in the London Observer. Many who had loved the stabbing dance rhythms of 2005’s Silent Alarm were turned off when the English band plunged into social and political subject matter with 2007’s A Weekend in the City, a response to London’s 2005 bombings. Though the group takes some chances on its “brave but forgettable” third album, Intimacy, it still can’t recapture the energy of its debut. Dark and relatively intense, Intimacy kicks off with “two of Bloc Party’s angriest, most experimental songs,” said Heather Phares in All Music Guide. Throughout the album, frontman Kele Okoreke emotionally addresses a former lover. On the opener, “Ares,” he screams out, “I want to declare a war!” over thrashing percussion and “seething, processed” guitars. When Okoreke and the rest of the band let that ire go, Intimacy “balances Silent Alarm’s focus with A Weekend in the City’s expansiveness.” Yet too often the band sounds as if it were playing tug of war with itself, said Nate Chinen in The New York Times. Bloc Party is “taking itself too seriously” when it should just embrace the band it was in the first place.
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