Published Nov 01, 2004For the better part of 2004, London, England's Bloc Party have spent their time jumping between indie labels while raising their profile with each new single they release. As anyone following their development knows, they just keep getting better and better. This unexpected stop in Toronto their first show ever on this side of the pond was timed nicely to coincide with the release of their self-titled North American-only EP on Dim Mak. The modest crowd on hand to witness this debut definitely knew their stuff, as Bloc Party have managed to gain a strong reputation as one of the UK's up and coming bands without the usual hype. Taking the stage, the band looked undaunted and cool, though their youth was difficult to hide. Barely in their 20s, they wear their influences well, giving nods to the better post-punk acts with a strong hint of Britpop to show they know a thing or two about melody. (Oddly enough, their manager used to be the guitarist in the short-lived Menswear.) Covering all of the bases, the band played material primarily from their EP, however they didn't forget to include some songs from their forthcoming album, Silent Alarm (expected early next year). New single "Helicopter" is their noisiest song to date and something that tests their synchronisation with some blink-and-miss pauses that show they know how to work a rhythm. "Little Thoughts," on the other hand, is their catchiest song and got every toe tapping in the small club with its tasty drum beat bounce and a chorus that never quits. Singer Kele Okereke is an animated front-man who doesn't hesitate to move to his music. His grasp of shifting his tone is admirable, as he moved his vocal chords between the styles of Damon Albarn ("The Answer") and Ian Curtis ("She's Hearing Voices"). Not to be outdone was guitarist Russell Lissack though, who stole the show with his crafty, complex strumming on tunes like "Staying Fat" and the slow burning "Tulips." If you didn't catch them this time, be sure to when they're all everyone's talking about in the New Year.