Three days ago Bloc Party dropped a little surprise with their plans for a new album. Three days later, it’s out. If “Mercury” didn’t quite shock your monkey, don’t give up. This is being typed as Intimacy is getting its first spin, and so it is the prematurest of evaluations, but for the most part it’s sounding better than the last.
The record’s produced by both Paul Epworth (Silent Alarm) and Jacknife Lee (A Weekend In The City), and it plays like a cross fade of both. Opener “Ares” touches it all in 3:30, Kele in glamorous Ludacris cadence over big open-hat Tong drums, Chem Bros guitars, disruptive synths. “Halo”‘s back to “Helicopter” mode. “One Month Off” pairs “Banquet” guitars with Okereke in digital cuts and snips. They didn’t overdo the shots for the heart this time, and they’re stronger for it: there’s just one cousin for “Blue Light” (“Biko”), and another for “Little Thoughts”/”This Modern Love” (see: “Ion Square”). And they’re snatching subtle tricks from good sources (check the “15 Step” sound and syncopation to the glitchy beat in “Zepherus,” the nod to Sigur Rós’s “Sæglópur” on the bell-laden intro to chill out cut “Signs”). Still need more listens to know if something glorious is about to happen, but this first one’s left me pleasantly surprised.
Time for listen two. Join the listening party.