Bloc Party

Hymns

Infectious Music/Bmg/Vagrant

Jan 27, 2016 Issue # 56 - Best of 2015 - Father John Misty and Wolf Alice Bookmark and Share


The fifth album from Bloc Party never quite gets off the ground. Though they long ago downshifted from the up-tempo energy of their debut, Hymns feels less like a purposeful pace than a drag. Lead singer Kele Okereke's voice is still beautiful, and his lyrics of heartbreak and passion strive for uplift, but the interplay between vocals and music don't allow for it. "Into the Earth," for example, matches a clean blues line with Okereke's singing, but they're at odds with one another, and without tension as well.

Bloc Party, at their best, drip with tension, bringing out the emotion in Okereke's honest sketches of modern sex and romance. Perhaps the departure of longtime drummer Matt Tong and bassist Gordon Moakes signal that the tension so palpable on record bled through into the band itself. This kind of speculation isn't fair, but incorporating two new members into a band with such a strong persona cannot be easy, and Hymns, rather than being elevated by this new injection of energy, feels too cautious.

There are high points, like the first song, "The Love Within," but even this, which is the most full and dynamic track on Hymns, sets a false blueprint for what is to follow. Those throbbing beats and buzzsaw guitars aren't heard from again. The slinky "So Real" is another standout, and could have been another direction for Bloc Party to turn, but it, too, is one of a kind.

Judging by its title, Hymns is meant to be a quieter, more introspective record. But Bloc Party has always been capable of great and deep thought, even when moving at a high rate of speed. Without that added urgency, Hymns falls flat. (www.blocparty.com)

Author rating: 4/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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Billy
January 29th 2016
4:00pm

Seriously, reading some the reviews, it’s like someone sh*t over their copy of SIlent Alarm and their teenage years. The reviewers are breaking up with the grown up Bloc Party. Boo hoo. Noone is taking away Helicopter and Banquet. They’re just experimenting and branching out rather than playing the same chords. Definitely a grower, but worth it, even if just for Russell’s best-guitarist-of-the-21st-century moments. If this was a debut album by another band, you’d be looking forward to where they went next.

Boris
February 1st 2016
12:45pm

The worst music I’d heard for many years. Dull and dim and boring..I can’t believe that this band made Silent Alarm!!!!

Davey
February 2nd 2016
7:36am

Dial down the hyberbole Yeltsin. Or just go off and listen to the latest American Idol winner. Cos you obviously have no ear for good, forward thinking music.