Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
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Much more polished, serious, and straight-ahead than their initial EPs suggested, Bloc Party's debut album, Silent Alarm, reveals them as a band equally informed by taut art-punk and the grand gestures and earnestness of groups like Coldplay and U2. It is also more varied than Bloc Party's early work indicated it might be, spanning edgy pop, atmospheric ballads, and angular, percussive tracks that are all served well by the album's big, layered production. The great single "Banquet" and even better opening track, "Like Eating Glass," put Bloc Party's heart-on-sleeve emotions in the service of tight, energetic songwriting that makes their earnestness a little easier to swallow. The gorgeous ballads also make the most of Bloc Party's emotional directness: "Blue Light," "This Modern Love," and "So Here We Are" are some of Silent Alarm's finest moments, with a tension and impact that show how powerful even their softest songs can be.