Intimacy

Intimacy

4.3 8
by Bloc Party
     
 

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Intimacy would have been a good name for Bloc Party's previous album, A Weekend in the City, which was so vulnerable and confessional that it often felt like barely edited diary entries set to music. The album's take on 21st century life and love was heavy listening in large part because it felt so personal. Bloc Party's moodSee more details below

Overview

Intimacy would have been a good name for Bloc Party's previous album, A Weekend in the City, which was so vulnerable and confessional that it often felt like barely edited diary entries set to music. The album's take on 21st century life and love was heavy listening in large part because it felt so personal. Bloc Party's mood is just as dark on Intimacy, which plays a lot like A Weekend in the City's mirror twin: it's a breakup album that gives personal situations a political heft. The similarities aren't really that surprising, considering that Intimacy arrived just a year and a half after A Weekend in the City and also features production work by Jacknife Lee (as well as Silent Alarm producer Paul Epworth). The album begins with two of Bloc Party's angriest, most experimental songs, which revisit the beat-heavy territory of A Weekend in the City's "Prayer" with even more charged results. "Ares" is a modern-day war chant, with seething processed guitar lines fueled by huge pummeling drums, the likes of which haven't been heard since the big beat heyday of the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy. "Mercury" is cleverly astrological, using a straight description of Mercury's retrograde conditions ("This is not the time to start a new love/This is not the time to sign a lease") as a springboard to a self-loathing rant set to wildly spiraling brass and more of those bludgeoning beats. Bloc Party push the envelope hard on both of these tracks, almost to the point of pretension, but not quite; actually, it's a little anticlimactic when they return to more familiar terrain like "Halo," which could fit in easily among Silent Alarm's angsty rockers. 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. "Ion Square" ends the album on a somewhat uplifting note along the lines of Silent Alarm's "So Here We Are" or A Weekend in the City's "I Still Remember," and as good as it is, it underscores the album's push-pull between familiar sounds and breaking boundaries. At times, Intimacy feels rushed and predictable, and at others, it's almost painfully ambitious. However, at its best, it balances Silent Alarm's focus with A Weekend in the City's expansiveness.

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Editorial Reviews

Billboard - Mikael Wood
Full of jagged guitar riffs, forward-motion drum beats and air-siren keyboard lines—not to mention a true-to-its-title lyrical focus on the excruciating end of a romantic relationship—"Intimacy" is the English dance-punk outfit's most urgent-sounding effort yet.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/28/2008
Label:
Atlantic
UPC:
0075678989520
catalogNumber:
512336
Rank:
82455

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Bloc Party   Primary Artist
Derek Watkins   Trumpet
Christopher Dean   Trombone
Dan Jenkins   Trombone
Paul Archibald   Trumpet
Guy Barker   Trumpet,Soloist
John Catherall   Tenor (Vocal)
Sid Gauld   Trumpet
James Jarvis   Choir Director
Peter Jennings   Bass (Vocal)
Colin Sheen   Trombone
Chris Wright   Bass (Vocal)
Henry Ross   Bass (Vocal)
Stephen Hall   Bass (Vocal)
Tom L. Smith   Bass (Vocal)
Roger Harvey   Trombone
Christopher Dean   Trombone
Jacknife Lee   Keyboards
Malcolm Aldridge   Bass (Vocal)
Gordon Banner   Tenor (Vocal)
Alison Benbow   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Chris Brasted   Bass (Vocal)
Sara Coffey   Soprano (Vocal)
Alex Cope   Soprano (Vocal)
Gretchen Cummings   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Exmoor Singers Of London   Choir, Chorus
Claire Fletcher   Soprano (Vocal)
Richard Furse   Tenor (Vocal)
Victor Gan   Tenor (Vocal)
Philippa Gardner   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Dave Garioch   Tenor (Vocal)
Desola Haastrup   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Claire Hetherington   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Peter Kenny   Tenor (Vocal)
Sharon Kniss   Soprano (Vocal)
Hayley Kruger   Soprano (Vocal)
Angharad Lloyd   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Jenny Marsden   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Sarah Meunier   Soprano (Vocal)
Tim Meunier   Bass (Vocal)
Charlotte Nicklin   Soprano (Vocal)
Mark Rivers Moore   Bass (Vocal)
Frances Rowberry   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Julia Saperia   Alto,Alto (Vocal)
Roz Sherris   Soprano (Vocal)
Ingalo Thomson   Soprano (Vocal)
Rebecca Wallis   Soprano (Vocal)
Rhian Walther   Soprano (Vocal)
Bettina Weichert   Alto,Alto (Vocal)

Technical Credits

James Jarvis   Music Direction
Mark Rankin   Engineer
Sam Bell   Programming,Engineer
Rob Crane   Art Direction
Philip Rose   Engineer
Paul Epworth   Producer
Tony Perrin   Management
Avshalom Caspi   Arranger,Brass Arrangment
Bloc Party   Composer
Jacknife Lee   Programming,Producer,Audio Production
Simon James White   Management

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