Artist Profile: The UK’s Bloc Party

Bloc Party is coming to Seattle’s Showbox Theater March 24 and 25, so in honor of the arrival of this British indie rock band, we have decided to give the students at the college a little background.

Bloc Party is composed of Kele Okereke (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Russell Lissack (leadguitar, synths), Gordon Moakes (bass guitar, synths, backing vocals), and Matt Tong (drums, backing vocals). Their brand of indie rock has been compared to bands such as The Cure, Gang of Four and The Strokes.

The band’s current discography includes: “Silent Alarm” (2005), “A Weekend in the City” (2007) and their most recent release, “Intimacy” (2008), an album they are promoting on their current tour.

Particular parallels were made by listeners between Bloc Party and Gang of Four upon their arrival on the music scene. According to an interview with BBC Radio’s Jonathan Cohen, however, the band was upset at such references, claiming they had never been fans of Gang of Four.

To achieve their unique guitar style, Okereke and Lissack use delay effect pedals to create an abstract and hypnotic sound.

During the recording of their second album, “A Weekend in the City”, according to the interview with BBC, the band suggested it would contain “some truly R’n’B styled beats” including a song where “[Tong] and [Moakes] play drums simultaneously [with] both eggshell-thin fragility and trouser-flapping hugeness.”

As opposed to their typical indie rock sound, “Intimacy” has been compared to such bands as Radiohead, U2, Depeche Mode and Björk. Some of the most noticeable changes are that the songs have become more layered and less raw. With the release of “Flux,” Bloc Party’s style became even more diverse with the inclusion of electronic music. Intimacy, the band’s third studio effort, shows the band experimenting with electronicmusic. Bloc Party members distance themselves even further from the traditional guitar band set-up, experimenting with dark electronic sounds and a brass section. The album features synths, processed drum beats and loops, vocal manipulation, and choral arrangements. Even though the album is influenced by electronic music, the band still did not lose their feel for guitar music.

“There’s every chance we might go back to more orthodox arrangements or things that resemble a traditional band[,] but I don’t think we’ll ever write songs like we did on Silent Alarm again,” Tong said in the BBC interview when asked by Cohen about the sudden change in the band’s style of music.

Whether they are playing traditional indie or more adventurous music, whatever they do seems to work! If you haven’t heard any of Bloc Party’s stuff, check them out at Myspace. com/blocparty. And make sure to snatch some tickets for their April 24 and 25 shows at the Showbox in Seattle.

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