10 February, 2015

Bloc Party's releases - from best to worst

Bloc Party's debut album - "Silent Alarm" - turns the big 10 this week, and to celebrate it we're bringing you a Bloc Party related post every day of the week, starting with the countdown of 'Best to Worst' (or 'Best to least Best'). As they've only had 4 albums we've included official remix albums, proper EPs and fan albums.

We kick off with the Worst of them, or as I like to put it, the 'Least Best'. 

Silent Alarm Remixed

After the huge success of "Silent Alarm" brought with it a huge awareness of the band, and after loads of artists were remixing and covering their tracks their label thought it best to release an official album. 

There's a huge amount of par remixes here, but the "Tulips", "Banquet" and cover of "Luno" by Death From Above 1979 made it well worth the money. 

Intimacy Remixed

This album was rather similar to their last remix album, rather this one was because the band were a lot more electronic than before. With the huge chart success of "Flux" a lot of producers were once again looking at the band. Some slated it as saying they're 'milking their fans for money', but as Gordon said, "It just gives the fans something else to listen to while we're touring". 

Key tracks: "Ares (Villans Remix)", "Signs (Arman Van Helden Remix) and the Phones remix of "Talons".

Nextwave Sessions (EP)

This is the band's last official studio release to date, written after "Four", this was mainly recorded while they were on the road. After this was released Matt Tong left the band, still no reasons have come out as to why, but it might be due to the usual 'creative differences'. It was 5 songs long (or 6 if you got the bonus track) and it reflected every album of theirs to date, but not very cohesive, and didn't have a big impact on their fans, with most forgetting it even came out.
Key tracks: "French Exit" and "Montreal"


This was the album that had "Mercury" on it, and when fans first heard this track they seem to be mortified that they've gone from making such delicate tracks like "SRXT" and "Uniform" to this mad electro-rock track. However the album held back some utter tunes, "Signs", "Letter To My Son" and "Ion Square" all won their fans' hearts back. Some night argue that the Abbey Road version of "Signs" is better, but this album was made with TWO producers, Paul Epworth (Silent Alarm) and Jacknife Lee (AWITC). Another surprise came when they released the album on physical formats and "Talons" was apart of it, this was Bloc Party back to their finest!

Key tracks: "Letter To My Son", "Signs" and "Talons"


After a long time out, Bloc Party as a band returned, first off with playing 3 shows dotted up and down the UK, I was the only person to go to all 3, Glasgow, Manchester and London. These shows were to showcase the band's new sound, and it certainly looked like they were back to their finest. 4 guys, in a room, making noise! They ended up releasing 17 new tracks within a month of the album coming out, just amazing!
Key tracks: "So He Begins To Lie", "3x3", "Day Four" and "The Healing"

Another Weekend In The City (Un-official B-Side compilation album)

When Bloc Party were writing the follow-up to "Silent Alarm" they took to the road to play tiny venues, and to get a flavour of the scene again. They recorded 23 songs for the "A Weekend In The City" album, with only 11 making it to the final cut that left 12 to use as B-Sides and 'bonus' tracks on the official album. Some regard the B-Sides better than the album itself, but I wouldn't say so, yes there are some better tracks there, but nothing it better than an official release in my eyes. After 2007 only a handful of these tracks have been played live, "The Once And Future King", "Rhododendrons" and "England". Which is odd as they're the 'Key tracks' you need to listen to! Also if you want to delve in more, you can google "Cells Shaped Like Stars" and "Blue Moon", two demos of "We Were Lovers" and "England". The tracklist is STILL disputed amongst fans, but click here and this is the order I've been listening to for a while.

2004-2005 (Fansite only download)

Back when the internet was still a nerdy thing, Bloc Party released a whole heap of live versions, b-sides and remixes in the form of a 'Fansite only album' this was called "2004-2005". Most of the songs were already out there when it was released, but gave new fans the chance to re-live the excitement of Bloc Party's early days. The reason why it's so high up our list is simply that it has "Always New Depths", "Skeleton", "Tulips", "Little Thoughts" and a great live version of an oldie "The Answer" on it, which most fans regard better than the EP version!

Bloc Party (EP)

This EP was effectively the band's first single "She's Hearing Voices" merged with their last single "Banquet/Staying Fat", but it gave fans the chance to listen to Bloc Party in their most raw. Early versions are hard to come by of this (on vinyl), but when it came out the critics fucking loved it. You can listen to a fan favourite "The Answer" below. 

A Weekend In The City 

This is the album I properly got into the band with, oddly enough it was the video to "The Prayer" that got me hooked, maybe it was the druggy video, or maybe it was the lyrics, who know, but from here on in I loved the band. It had a wide range of tracks in it, from the edgy "Hunting For Witches" to the sombre "SRXT" at the end of the LP. All held in place with a killer track, "Uniform", this was Bloc Party coming of age and saying to the world, who said 2nd albums had to be worse than the first. Most said it was better than their debut, but as you're about to find out, the album hasn't really stayed with it's fan as the #1 release...

Silent Alarm

What else would it be! Sam L Roake takes us through their amazing debut album. 

The album holds up so well on repeat listening, each track working perfectly in its selected position on the track listing, not a single shred of filler in what is a long album by today’s standards (58 mins) even if I am still a bit peeved that Little Thoughts was left off the album. Despite being a perfect snapshot of 2005 it still manages to be relevant 10 years later and that perhaps is its lasting legacy, every time I listen to the album I get something new from it as it grows up alongside me, the world changing around it. A lot has happened to me in those 10 years since I was a geeky, socially awkward teenager thumbing through the music channels but it really has defined my life and me as a person. Just as I’m quite convinced it will have done the same for many of the millions of people who have bought the album since its release. The band has never been better and in 10 years, despite their best efforts, has never quite been able to match the dizzying heights of their powerful debut; it’s a rare beast, the perfect album.

If you ask me, Silent Alarm needs no big celebration, no anniversary tour nor a deluxe re-release.
It just needs to be listened to over and over again, passed down to future generations and cherished forever by the fans.

Here’s to the next 10 years.

God Bless Bloc Party.