- On this immensely appealing debut, SILENT ALARM, the London-based quartet Bloc Party fulfills the promise of their barnstorming 2004 singles "Banquet" and "She's Hearing Voices." Led by magnetic frontman Kele Okereke, the band extracts the most fascinating aspects of the previous 25 years of British indie rock and fuses them into a new entity--complete with smarts and heart--never delving into retro-kitsch or slavish imitation.
- Okerere's urgent yelp most often recalls a fired-up incarnation of the Cure's Robert Smith, but the sounds the group creates echo everything from Gang of Four's staccato militarism ("Banquet") to the reverberating guitars of the Chameleons ("Price of Gas"). At times, Bloc Party also recalls the ecstatic soundwashes of early-1990s cult pioneers like Ride ("Plans") and Slowdive ("Compliments"). Lyrically, Okerere tilts toward an endearing adolescent pessimism that, even when the music is less than mopey, gives him away as a goth at heart ("and the ravens are leaving the tower/make your peace"). However, at the end of "Price of Gas," when he proclaims "I can tell you how this ends/We're going to win this," one can hope that Okerere is expressing his confidence in a bright future for his extremely talented band.
Rolling Stone (p.76) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[Bloc Party is] a visceral, vibrating dance machine....they distill twenty-five years of spiky British rock, from the Cure to Blur to hot Scots Franz Ferdinand..."
Spin (p.64) - Ranked #6 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2005" - "Rarely has romance sounded so expensively, and expansively, sad."
Spin (p.137) - "[A]dding some booty-shaking disco to the detached cool of ALARM's new-wave robot rock....Bliss inducing." - Grade: B+
Entertainment Weekly (No. 814, p.64) - "[T]his London gang of four delivers a post-punk mishmash of angular guitars, pulsating bass, and tricky time signatures..." - Grade: A-
Uncut (p.106) - 3 stars out of 5 - "SILENT ALARM's innovation, sense of urgency and sleek production are enough to comfortably elevate Bloc Party above the post-punk rabble."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.63) - Ranked #34 in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2005" - "[A]n album super-taut and yet expansive, sinewy yet lush..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.100) - 3 stars out of 5 - "Ambitious in scope and abundantly stocked with viral melody, SILENT ALARM is hugely impressive....Their future is assuredly now."