ALBUM REVIEW: Bloc Party – Silent Alarm Live

Release Date: July 12th 2019
Label: Bloc Party


Being one of the most memorable acts of the 2000s indie scene, Bloc Party forged themselves an almighty reputation that’s still greatly respected to this day.

Undeniably, one of their most famous successes came in 2005 with their debut album, ‘Silent Alarm’, praised for its variation on indie and musical diversity. Last year, the London based group took the record out on a small run of shows around Europe, and on ‘Silent Alarm Live’, we get a taste of what went down.

It’s clear to hear from off that Bloc Party are great performers. For a band with some interesting, quick-fire beats and slick rhythmic that could prove hard to replicate, their musicianship hardly comes into question here.

Track wise, the record follows the exact track-order of ‘Silent Alarm’, mimicking the same highs you experience when listening to the original, as the slow-burning introduction to ‘Like Eating Glass’ melts into the busy duo of ‘Helicopter’ and ‘Positive Tension’. The anthemic ‘Helicopter’ is as choppy and jumpy as you’d expect, proving to be a massive crowd-pleaser just two tracks in, signified by the sound of the roaring audience, while the equally lively ‘Banquet’ follows in similar frantic fashion.

Kele Okereke, with his almost conversational southern English tones, switches between his crooning cleans and semi-spoken vocals almost as effortlessly as it sounds on the original. One bugbear, however, is that at times, the guitars and drums sound way too tinny and negatively impacts the quality of the overall sound, which is slightly disappointing, if not unsurprising.

The sly “That’s right” that Okerere murmurs before the tricky-beated ‘She’s Hearing Voices’ as the crowd beginning to chant, sets the tone for another stomping classic. You can almost hear the smile beaming across his face as the refrain of “red pill, blue pill” interjects his sass-littered verses.

Near the end, the gentle ‘So Here We Are’ carries the same beautiful melodies that seem so familiar on record, while the emotional conclusion of ‘Compliments’, with its shimmering choral guitar send the crowd off with a wonderful rendition of the record’s closer.

Sure, there’s the age-old debate between playing live album records or just having the original, but sometimes it’s nice to have both. On ‘Silent Alarm Live’, Bloc Party bring their oldest work to modern times, and even though there’s not too much to get excited about, it’s a nice chance to hear a critically-acclaimed album brought back to life in a live setting.