Tag Archives: Bloc Party

Add Some Cafeine To Your Musical Diet


Cafeine – New Love Album Review

The new album from Cafeine somehow slipped past my radar the first two times it ended up in my InBox. Thanks to a persistent PR Rep, I finally took it for a spin a few weeks ago, and can’t get enough of this sweet, catchy alt-rock.

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Cafeine the group is really the multi-talented Xavier Cafeine, a French Canadian multi-instrumentalist who sings, plays all of the instruments and recorded the album himself. The result? A hip, cool collection of pop-laced rock tunes that at different times feels like new wave, punk or ska, but a collection of songs that are always eminently listenable and enjoyable.

New Love is drenched with infectious hooks and catchy riffs, and simply stated is a blast to listen to. Periodically, I conjured up happy memories of classic Oingo Boingo and of more recent Bloc Party, but the music is distinctively fresh and stands on its own. At times the tracks are saccharine sweet, but just as often the songs deliver an engrossingly gritty edge.

A wave of fuzz and distortion immediately demands attention as the album kicks off with the title track which quickly evolves into a melodic pop rocker. New Love delivers hard charging guitar riffs intermixed with dreamy synths and clever lyrics. Cafeine’s voice is not particularly beautiful nor tremendously gritty, but it is undeniably likeable.

The majority of the tracks on the album carefully navigate around the topic of Love, and the inherent trials and tribulations associated with all of the joy and angst brought out by that emotion; on this album, more of the latter. On “I Love You” we hear him exhort “Hey bitch I got a message for you. I don’t like you, you don’t like me, I don’t care anymore.” Aside from the great lyrics, it’s an interesting juxtaposition of poppy bouncy keyboards and edgy vocals.

And then there’s “Fucking Time,” which is just pure musical genius. It’s a hearty rocker, with raging drums, addictive riffs and wonderfully casual lyrics. If not for the title, this one would be a fantastic choice for a summertime radio hit. I’ll leave you with my favorite line from the song, “Wish my life could be a bit better, but there’s no fucking time; wish my songs were a little more clever, at least they fucking rhyme.” I strongly implore to check out the album now, while you still have some fucking time!

Grab the album now on iTunes: New Love – Cafeine

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Bloc Party – Four – Album Review

Sperry Top Sider

In my younger and more formative years…

I’m just kidding. Let me start again. When I was just graduating high school, and for the first couple of years after, we spent our Thursday and Saturday nights at Jacksonville’s Art Bar, TSI, and the Pearl. Fueled by Pabst and hormones, we would dance until our feet quit working and all we wanted afterwards was a big, nasty slaw dog from the street vendor outside. Bloc Party was a staple during those days and I look back fondly in between moments of cringing from picturing what my actual dance skills probably looked like. “Helicopter” and “Banquet,” from their debut Silent Alarm could usually be heard creeping through the cracks of the dingy buildings.  We are far removed from those days and so are the London four-piece.

Track one of their new release, Four, “So He Begins To Lie”, starts off with in-studio talking among band members. When bands do this I’m not exactly sure what message they’re trying to convey.   Is it to show that the album was recorded live in the studio?   Is it just an obvious Easter egg for fans to have a behind the scenes feeling?  Everything gets thrown into Pro-tools anyway, so point, click and cut that 10 seconds from the final product.  I didn’t mean to rant, but I do feel better now. Regardless of that, the first track comes off sounding a bit like a b-side from Coheed and Cambria’s In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3.  I love that album so the comparison is meant to be positive.

Track 3, “Octopus,” is when this album starts to remind me of the Bloc Party I remember.  Dancey beats, quick,  trembling guitars and singable vocals should get your hips shaking and if that doesn’t work just start guzzling cheap beer. Front-man Kele Okereke drops the tempo on “Real Talk” which sounds like it features a banjo in the second verse. Interesting chord progressions hit notes that make it a somewhat spooky sounding song, but not unenjoyable.

“Coliseum” has a slide guitar throughout most of it and, I kid you not, I can’t listen to this song without laughing and singing Days of the New’s “Touch, Peel, and Stand”.  If you were born after 1997, don’t worry about this reference.  If you look up that song it will not be funny, and only mildly enjoyable.

Following that is “V.A.L.I.S.”, which is probably my favorite track on the record. I think it was made abundantly clear in the review I did for Psychic Friend that I am a sucker for super-catchy, poppy songs. It’s true and I will not apologize for it.  Come to think of it, this song is along the same lines of Coheed and Cambria’s “Feathers”.  The two bands could tour together…

“Team A” and “Truth” bring more of the same danceable goodness, before the album ends with a full-on rocker titled “We Are Not Good People.” It’s a great song but (and maybe its just me) I find it a little difficult to take it too seriously with Kele’s British accent.  It’s adorable and I just want to pinch his cheeks when he tries to sound tough.

All in all this is an outstanding effort. Enjoyable from beginning to end, especially the danceable ones. On the other hand, I appreciate what they’re trying to do with songs like the first and last track, but there are other bands out there that have been doing it longer and are doing it better. We love Bloc Party for making us dance, not for melting our faces off. Play to your strengths, guys. You’re awesome.

– Broken Birdie –