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Bloc Party: Silent Alarm

Vice Records: Released March 22nd

Is the 21st Century ready for Disco Punk? Ska Pop? Punk Funk? Modern Rock? <i>Silent Alarm</i>, the debut of this London quartet fits snugly into the latest buzz band category, nestled next to Franz Ferdinand and The Futureheads. Each song is catchy and most race by on a wave of polished wah wah guitars and some seriously hot drum work.

The fourteen songs rely on simple, straightforward shout out lyrics about violence, the price of petrol and lost puppy love. However, this is where the album stumbles.

The first track "Like Eating Glass" pledges lost love is like "drinking poison", fair enough. During "This Modern Love", set to a catchy beat, we're rallied to pogo (maybe not). "Luno" celebrates kicking the shit out of your girlfriend: "And your nose is bleeding. You deserve it. You've been lying to me." -- this is just plain wrong. Two anti-war songs, "Helicopter" and "Price of Gas", fixated with the Middle East, are danceable but unconvincing. "Plans", with its "taste for blood" (a.k.a. oil) chorus, slyly draws me back for a deeper listen.

The band is much more in the mood when they blast their troubles about growing up, growing famous and growing old alone. "Banquet" is an eloquent take on lost love, and what might have been. "Compliments", the album's last track, hits a melancholy ending with, "We sit and we sigh. And nothing gets done. So right, so clued-up. We just get old.... What are we coming to? What are we gonna do?"

Bloc Party sell themselves as an "autonomous unit of un-extraordinary kids". This I believe. We all have troubles, and Bloc Party air their's unvarnished. As a "Modern Rock" dance album, <i>Silent Alarm</i> is pure energy -- fun to bop around to, just don't sing along.

But, then again, Bloc Party just played a very sold out show at the Bottom of the Hill, so what do I know...

Bloc Party is found here: http://www.blocparty.com

Rating: 2.5 out 5 stars (for graphic violence)