Their brand of music is said to have been drawn from such bands as The Cure, Mogwai, Siouxsie and the Banshees and in their more recent work Radiohead.
The band was formed at the 1999 Reading Festival by Okereke and Lissack. They went through a variety of names before settling on Bloc Party in 2003. Moakes joined the band after answering an advert in NME magazine, while Tong was picked via an audition. Bloc Party got their break by giving BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq and Franz Ferdinand’s lead singer, Alex Kapranos, a copy of their demo “She’s Hearing Voices”.
In February 2005, the band released their debut album Silent Alarm. It was critically acclaimed and was named ‘Indie Album of the Year’ at the 2006 PLUG Awards and NME Album of the year which both honour indie music. That year, the record was also certified platinum in Britain. The band built on this success in 2007 with the release of their second studio album, A Weekend in the City, which reached a peak of number two in the UK Albums Chart and number twelve in the Billboard 200. In August 2008, Bloc Party released their third studio record, Intimacy. The band went on a hiatus in October 2009 to focus on side projects, and reunited in September 2011, releasing their fourth album, Four, in 2012. As of May 2012, Bloc Party have sold two million albums worldwide.
Bloc Party’s brand of guitar rock draws on influences such as The Cure, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Blur, and The Smiths.Okereke has also stated that Mogwai’s album Mogwai Young Team changed his life by being his musical “year zero”.Okereke also cites Suede as a major influence, he says Dog Man Star was the first record he fell in love with. Particular parallels were made between Bloc Party and Gang of Four upon their arrival on the music scene, yet the band were “mildly infuriated” at such references, claiming they had never “particularly liked” Gang of Four. To achieve their unique style, numerous delay and other effects pedals are implemented. During the recording of second album A Weekend in the City, the band suggested it would contain “some truly R’n’B styled beats, a song where [Tong] and [Moakes] play drums simultaneously [with] both eggshell-thin fragility and trouser-flapping hugeness”, as opposed to their typical sound. The style has been compared to and inspired by such bands as Radiohead, U2, Depeche Mode, and Björk. Some of the most noticeable changes between debut Silent Alarm and A Weekend in the City are that the songs became more layered and less raw due to inclusion of string arrangements.
With the release of “Flux”, Bloc Party’s style became even more diverse with the inclusion of electronic music. “Mercury” saw Bloc Party distance themselves even further from the traditional guitar band set-up by experimenting with dark electronic sounds and a brass section inspired by Siouxsie and the Banshees. The band’s third album Intimacy also features synths, processed drum beats and loops, vocal manipulation, and choral arrangements. Even though the album is influenced by electronic music, the band still has not lost their feel for guitar music. For example, in a recent interview, Okereke said that the band is starting to miss their more traditional sound, and confirmed that may be the way fourth album is headed. However, Tong contradicted this, stating: “There’s every chance we might go back to more orthodox arrangements or things that resemble a traditional band but I don’t think we’ll ever write songs like we did on Silent Alarm again.” A 2009 Vice Records mix lists the following songs Bloc Party are influenced by: Eagle Boston’s “Wild WildOst”, Pylon’s “Working Is No Problem”, Delta 5’s “Mind Your Own Business”, John Foxx’s “Underpass”, Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U” (also covered live), Sonic Youth’s “Youth Against Fascism”, Dinosaur Jr.’s “Freak Scene”, La Roux’s “Quicksand (Nightrunners Edit)”, and Bruce Springsteen’s “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On)”.
Bloc Party started writing material for a fourth album in 2011, but decided not to play live. In the meantime Okereke finished an EP titled The Hunter. The group stated they intend to release a new album in 2012. In May 2012, Bloc Party announced Four. The album is set to be released on 20 August 2012. The album was recorded with Alex Newport, who had previously worked with At The Drive In and The Mars Volta, at Stratosphere Studios in New York City during the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012. Bloc Party released “Octopus”, a single from Four, that July. and later released another single entitled “Day Four”
Bloc Party – Four is distributed by Warner Music Philippines and is now out on CD and on iTunes.