Album: Bloc Party

Silent Alarm, WICHITA

Though they are erroneously lumped in with the London nu-punk scene, there's a world of difference between the hotly tipped Bloc Party and the likes of The Others or The Libertines. Their music bristles with ambition, rather than simply being a medium for the transmission of nihilist diary notes. The Franz Ferdinand comparisons are less easily denied, Silent Alarm resounding to a comparable brand of relentless, itchy guitar interplay and stern, upright rhythms, although there's nothing here with quite the nagging charm of "Matinee" or "Take Me Out". But there's New Wave brio aplenty in tracks such as the singles "She's Hearing Voices" and "Helicopter", and a sense of overriding determination coursing through the songs in sentiments such as "We're gonna win this", "Nothing ever comes for free" and the guiding principle from "The Pioneers", "If it can be broke, then it can be fixed/ If it can be lost, then it can be won." On the downside, the sense of relentless, methodical industry can grow tiresome over the course of an album, and there's a touch too much of Robert Smith's plaintive stridency in Kele Okereke's voice for my taste; but Bloc Party have the desire, intelligence and energy to become a formidable pop power.

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