Songs such as "Kettling," "So He Begins to Lie" and "We Are Not Good People" take the band's notoriously smooth indie flavor and smash it to bits with down-tuned guitar riffs reminiscent of the Smashing Pumpkins and Quicksand. Guitarist Russell Lissack shreds like he has never shredded before. His iconic and effects-heavy brand of guitar playing is surpassed, if not slightly overshadowed, by his thrashy solos.
Recorded in New York City by Alex Newport at Stratosphere Sound, Four both sounds like and reflects the busy, noisy streets of NYC. However, vocalist Kele Okereke still shines through the gritty soundscape as one of the boldest and most versatile singers on the scene.
Okereke's vocals are enthralling and memorable on tracks such as "V.A.L.I.S." and "Truth." His signature falsetto and stutter have always been an integral part of the band's sound, but Okereke's performance on Four, the band's first album in four years, soars above anything he's done thus far.
Unfortunately, with Four's intensity comes people who are bound not to get it. For those expecting a repeat of 2005's Silent Alarm or 2007's A Weekend in the City, it's important to note that this album is one that gets better with time. As the dissonance dissolves it reveals something much more rewarding.