[20] Bloc Party, ‘Banquet’

Bloc Party

LET’S START 2004 then.

They’ve had a tough time of it, Bloc Party. Unconfirmed reports suggest they were the first band whipped by a backlash before they’d even been hyped, and the strikes only got fiercer when Kele Okereke had the temerity to fill their second album with a few prosaic lyrics. The horror! Then Kele went and got himself beaten up – and allegedly racially abused – by John Lydon and his lackeys, and everyone felt a bit awkward. Don’t worry; the metaphorical boot will get put back in when that fourth album comes around.

Do they deserve the sneers? I put the question to Junior, who gave me a look that said she’d woken up at 6am and wasn’t ready for any query more complex than “Jam or Marmite?” It was a loquacious look. I diluted the quiz – do you like this? A nod. Good choppy guitars? A nod. Can you say “Bloc Party?” “Bloc Party.”

Sometimes that’s enough.

Urgent, spiky, yelpy – ‘Banquet’ bears a mark of promise that’s occasionally been fulfilled over three diverting albums. I think they’ve done OK.

On fire:

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