The digital edition came out Aug. 21. The physical album comes out Oct. 27th.
This album is predominated by distorted "big beat" drums, complex beats, and is, frankly, hard to get into. While I've been a fan of Bloc Party remixes over the years, it has always been in opposition to the 'rock' album versions. When Bloc Party originals sound like remixes, it sounds to me like overproduction.
One could barely categorize this as a 'rock' album. I could see this album going over well at a really cool party, but it is sadly not something I see myself listening to in my freetime.
It will be interesting to see how they pull of some of these tracks live. Honestly, though, most of these songs don't belong anywhere near a live set. Not unless they want the audience to fall asleep.
Here is my track-by-track review.
1 "Ares" - 3:30 Bloc Party do bad early 90's electro. With lots of noise. Sounds very, very British. Prodigy and Chemical Brothers did this kind of thing already, and it wasn't that great then.
2 "Mercury" - 3:53 This song just annoys me, I'm sorry. For one, I hate horns, and this track has more horns than "Mambo #5". Very repetitive, and it just sounds like an excuse for the musicians to freakout and make a bunch of noise on exotic instruments. Boring. 2/5.
3 "Halo" - 3:36 This is more like it!!! Like "Luno" and "Helicopter" had a baby! The Bloc Party I've grown to miss over the last two tracks makes a triumphant return! But, since the track sounds so much like the two mentioned, it's not that exciting. The chills fade.
4 "Biko" - 5:01 It begins like "Uniform". And goes nowhere for 2 minutes. Kele sounds particularly emotional. When the beat comes in, it's pretty annoying, bass and claps. I feel like it never fully takes off. 3/5
5 "Trojan Horse" - 3:32 Shows promise, ultimately boring. At least it's fast. 3/5.
6 "Signs" - 4:40 This reminds me on Enya. This track never goes anywhere. It is decently pretty, but I really never spend my time listening to 'pretty ' music. This song gets a 2/5
7 "One Month off" - 3:39 Back to another old-schoolesque Bloc Party track. It's fast, jittery, menacing. Still, lots of noises and squelches and effect to reflect their new electro edge. 4/5
8 "Zephyrus" - 4:35 Another song that strays from the 4/4 rock beat. It's operatic, epic, etc. But it does not rock. Imagine the intro to "Weekend in the City"'s "The Prayer" lasting over 4 minutes. 2/5
9 "Better than Heaven" - 4:22 A pleasant surprise: an electronic track that works! Almost like a modern "close to me" by the Cure. Dark, mysterious, wonderful. My favorite track on the album. 5/5.
10 "Ion Square" - 6:33 Not soon enough to save the album, but I'm glad this song showed up. On the cutesey side. A little like "Little Thoughts". It puts me in a good mood, and reminds me of Christmas for some reason. 5/5.
Overall, a disappointing album. Let's hope the bonus tracks included with the physical release will add some much needed rock to the package.