Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bloc Party

I skipped over the second Bloc Party album Weekend in the City. But listening to Intimacy and then picking up Weekend used (and the copy I found had been resold three times!) I have been thinking more about them again. Bloc Party seems to suffer a lot from the modern music release schedule.

Sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, release schedules started to slow down and bands that would release albums every 1 to 2 years started releasing albums every 2 to 4 years. Now there are still some artists who crank out yearly albums (Scott Herren, Bob Pollard, Ryan Adams) but these people are looked at now as hyper productive, when really their release schedule would have been normal 20 years ago. Well except for Bob, he's a freak in the best way possible. Now there's nothing wrong with the Depeche Modes and U2s of the world and from taking more time between releases. They've already put out substantial bodies of work.

But for a younger band, and one that considers them a very serious important band, every album has to be a statement. Hence Coldplay's strange ride to arena-dom, and hence Bloc Party's repeated flirtation with dance tracks. Now I stand by my assessment of them from my first review that Matt Tong got paired up with the wrong band in the band factory. He's a great drummer, when not replaced by drum machines, but still lacks the subtlety needed for many of the songs. Any way you put it, though, Weekend and Intimacy are very ambitious records, and rather than building up to them, the band practically leaps from album to album.


Adam Z. Winer said...

You're blaming the release schedule for Bloc Party not reaching their potential?

creative... but any way you cut it, they're just not writing and making as good music as was released by their debut.

Max Nova said...

I'm not blaming the schedule, I'm just saying that with more time between releases, each release becomes that much more important.