Frenchkiss Records 
Fire Note Says: Bloc Party make a solid attempt at returning to their early form.
Ever listen to a record that just sort of stymies you on what you think? That describes my feelings after several spins on the fourth long player from Bloc Party simply titled Four. The first part of this confusion might be driven from the fact that I was in the camp that never thought this group would release any more material after all the reports of the band looking to replace lead singer Kele Okereke. Clearly they worked it out but does Four rekindle the energy that made Bloc Party so special on Silent Alarm  and A Weekend In The City ?
Yes and no is the answer. I know - make up your mind you say! Right away I believe Four sounds much more like the Bloc Party of old than their 2009 release Intimacy but it in no way hits the level of their first two albums. Oddly enough the first several tracks on this record do not do it any justice nor bring back that stellar energy and in fact, "3x3" is just sort of odd with its metal rock structure and Okereke's wailing. Track listing is everything and these tracks just set the wrong mood for me because by the time you hit "Octopus" at track 3 the listener is a little put out. The good news is that "Octopus" will pull you back in as it is a slick piece of Bloc Party art that uses their trademark quick style switching to perfection. The slower paced "Real Art" is not bad but once again its placement in the track listing at number 4 does not seem to work for a smooth transition.
Now by the time you hit rocker "Kettling" at number 5, another ballad type track in "Day Four" and the catchy songs "V.A.L.I.S." and "Team A", Bloc Party hits a familiar old stride that saves Four from just being OK and pushes its replay value up. These songs show that Bloc Party definitely still have an "it" factor but overall the band can not carry this dynamic for the album's 43 minutes. The bottom line here is that longtime fans will enjoy Four as it does have many surprises and you get the sense that Bloc Party care about getting back to the basics but overall Four falls a bit short of a full return. With that said though there is still enough here that not only will have me coming back again but also shows that Bloc Party still have much to contribute to the scene - you just need to let them try.
Key Tracks: "Octopus", "V.A.L.I.S.", "Day Four"
Bands With Similar Fire:
Bloc Party: Intimacy [Fire Note Review 10/28/09]
Bloc Party: A Weekend In The City [Fire Note Review 2/12/07]
Bloc Party Website
Bloc Party Facebook
-Reviewed by Christopher Anthony