Maximum Performance

Bloc Party Debut New Songs, Address Breakup Rumors at Intimate L.A. Showcase

Lyndsey Parker
Maximum Performance

After a four-year hiatus and almost as many years of breakup rumors, Bloc Party at long last debuted new tunes from their forthcoming plainly titled fourth album, Four, for a U.S. audience this week. On August 1 at uber-producer Bob Clearmountain's Berkeley Street studio, at a private showcase hosted by Los Angeles tastemaker radio KCRW, the band performed 11 songs (nine from the new album, out August 21)...and during a mid-show interview with KCRW DJ Jason Bentley, the band gently attempted to put those aforementioned rumors to rest.

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"The time apart made us realize just how much we love each other. That's the diplomatic answer," dryly quipped frontman Kele Okereke--although he did his best avoid Bentley's further interrogations regarding band relations. ("We're not at liberty to talk about that, because don't have all our lawyers here," he cheekily explained.) Instead, Kele made jokes about such unrelated topics as the Olympics (apparently if he were competing at the Games in his native London right now, his preferred sport would be "women's body-building") and group sex (the supposed subject matter of new song "3X3").

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Kele also reacted quizzically to Bentley's "interesting" question about Four representing Bloc Party's "metal phase," clarifying: "There are moments of musculature, but some of our most tender moments are on this record."

However, there was no denying that new tracks like "Coliseum" (which the band had never played live in public before) boasted a distinctly sludgy, retro-'90s, almost Soundgarden-esque vibe, dramatically differently from the dance-punk of Bloc Party's earlier albums.

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The intimate gig and interview will air on KCRW's drive-time show, "Morning Becomes Eclectic," on August 15. The full setlist was:

"So He Begins To Lie"
"3X3"
"Octopus"
"Real Talk"
"Kettling"
"Coliseum"
"Black Crown"
"Day 4"
"Team A"
"Truth"
"This Modern Love"

all photos by Jeremiah Garcia

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