Release Date: Oct 28, 2008
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Rush-released as a download three months before the CD, Bloc Party's third album regains the ground lost by Weekend in the City. They've toughened up their sound with orchestral stabs and disembodied dance beats, but crafted some of their strongest tunes. The ghost of Public Image Limited's This Is Not a Love Song hovers on the juddering Mercury - ironic given recent scuffles.
In under a year, the story has become cliché: a band announces an album with little lead time in an effort to cut down on leaks and illegal downloading and to reintroduce the album as an event. Radiohead did it first, sans label, followed by Trent Reznor, Saul Williams, the Raconteurs and Girl Talk. And now Bloc Party. Bloc Party’s announcement last week that its third album, Intimacy, would be out in three days, was one of the first short-notice albums to truly make sense.
However, the band does find subtle ways to tweak and channel that angst: "Biko" (not the Peter Gabriel song) is dedicated to Kele Okereke's "sweetheart the melancholic," but when he sings that "you've got to toughen up," he sings it to himself as much as his lost love, and as the song closes with a swell of backing vocals, it's clear that he's singing about more than something between two people. The band captures post-breakup obsession masterfully on the frosty yet strangely hopeful "Signs," where the way Okereke sings "I could sleep forever these days/'Cause in my dreams I see you again" makes this kind of brooding almost as romantic as actually being in love. "Zephyrus" balances Intimacy's heartbreak and experimental tendencies into a standout, setting snippets of an argument to strings, choral vocals, and sputtering rhythms.
E ighteen months after the dull A Weekend in the City, south London's mopiest sons return with a clunky affair that makes some bold departures, notably the cutthroat, These New Puritans-inspired 'Mercury' and the Steve Reich-esque minimalism of 'Signs'. Brave, but forgettable..
We all knew the electronic experimentation was coming; the only surprise is that it didn't happen on last year's noble failure, A Weekend In The City. Bloc Party get it out of their system early with the whirling sirens and drum machines of opener Ares; then comes the dreadfully over-sampled and jarring Mercury. And just as you're about to write off Intimacy for self-indulgence, along comes Halo, a track equal to any hit from their respected Silent Alarm debut.
Set in a dilapidated Veterans Administration hospital, Article 99 may be the first medical melodrama that isn’t about dedicated physicians performing life-saving acts of valor. It’s about dedicated physicians not performing life- saving acts of valor: Their hands are tied by the crisis in veterans’ health care — the calamitous lack of funding, the red tape, the increasingly prevalent policy of refusing to cover conditions (such as heart problems) that aren’t directly related to military service. To function as doctors, the movie’s heroes have to become outlaws in their own hospital.