Say what you like about Bloc Party, but over three occasionally great albums, the British post-punk rockers never sounded like anyone but themselves.
That changes on their fourth album, a comeback of sorts after the London quartet's 2009 hiatus.
Four is the heaviest album yet from a band that sounds desperate to stamp some kind of authority on 2012's rock scene.
Ironically, their bid to stand out sees Bloc Party mostly mimicking other bands: grungy rocker Kettling has the same kind of sprawling guitar sound used by the Smashing Pumpkins across Siamese Dream; We Are Not Good People is a frenetic punk anthem that recalls The Strokes at their most aggressive; the Shihad-esque Team A has front man Kele Okereke warning that he'll "ruin your life"; and warped metal racket 3x3 sounds like System of a Down.
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They're much better when they slow things down: Octopus' spiky guitars are a highlight and sound like something from their 2005 debut, Silent Alarm; VALIS has a nice electronic disco kick to it; while Okereke's chilling falsetto on Real Talk proves his solo excursions weren't a complete waste of time.
And Coliseum's slide guitar is a nice touch before the inevitable grunt kicks in, but not before Okereke sums up Four for himself: "We're moving backwards, history repeating itself.'
Verdict: They're back, but when did they get so angry?
Buy this album here.