Sunday, December 25, 2005
Albums Of The Year: Number 7
It's funny, but for the majority of 2005 it's been evident that certain people can't wait to trigger a Bloc Party backlash. The Bravery eventually came along and diverted their attention, but for a while there parts of the media were looking for a post-punk revival sacrificial lamb and their name came up quite a bit. Which is odd, as nothing blazed a trail right through the middle of the self appointed scene quite like Silent Alarm, an album crackling with tension, unafraid to make itself look big, yet knowing the value of a good hook as much as how to take a sudden left turn into dissonance. It sounds like a group of men each with their own ideas on jagged dynamism thrown together and told not to come out until they've come up with something that sounds in any way together. Out of that has come a record confident in its own component parts while rearing up with its own private idea of adventure.
They can use an effects box well too, as opener Like Eating Glass proves before developing into a driving statement of intent. In fact, the whole album is decorated with moments which define the song they house by how they take it to the next level of emotional pull. For example, many saw Helicopter as a political statement (Kele denies this) wrapped in self consciously arty clothes, but for our money the bit that is occasionally referred to as the bridge where one guitar apparently gets stuck during a glissando, the other adds flourishes on the theme of the riff, then suddenly band MVP Matt Tong slips up a couple more gears and everyone frantically races each other to the end might be the single most exciting moment produced in at least British music during the year. Even the slower songs glisten with mini-electrical storms and sophistication remaining tantalisingly unresolved, making it at once an album that floats above the clouds and plummets through them at high speed. And yes, at the end of the year everyone seems to have realised it's any good after all.
LISTEN IN: Positive Tension
EXTRA FEATURE: The secret world of bassist Gordon Moakes - he can talk all he likes now, but we've discovered his Shellac-reviewing past (we suspect he doesn't have that email address any more) Meanwhile Tong lists his own favourite albums of 2005 for Filter, until he runs out and starts making up bandnames.