Following the release of their fourth studio album weirdly titled ‘Four’ for some reason, Bloc Party front-man Kele Okereke embarked on a remarkably memorable solo endeavor that we all might struggle to remember. This seem to signal the end of Bloc Party, which seemed a shame at the time, but didn’t really seem to have any lasting negative impact and was thus forgotten. Lucky for us all, Bloc Party have returned, or most of Bloc Party, as we now have a new line up consisting of Kele Okereke, Russel Lissack, Justin Harris & Louise Bartle. So does this mean more of that punchy kick-ass indie-rock sentiment we know and love Bloc Party for? Sadly not.
‘Hymns’ is Bloc Party’s return to music, seeing the new line-up attempt to redesign themselves as a band for these modern times, where indie-rock is no longer acceptable and where everyone everywhere likes more synthetic elements. It can work at times, and even ‘Hymns’ has its moments with its few enjoyable tracks. Okereke’s vocal talents are certainly on top once again, with the falsetto being his sure-fire way to bring something to the music. There’s even some nice moments featuring Lissack’s guitar work which is… good?
It seems that Bloc Party have failed to effectively re-work themselves into a new band. Their pale attempt at concocting modern tunes with falsetto vocals and wub-wub synthetic elements come across as a poor imitation of better music. There’s nothing wrong with reinvention, and perhaps some people will enjoy this new branch of Bloc Party, but it just seems to be horribly cliched and trite to be effective and enjoyable. Everything struggles to move along, with nothing ever seeming to stand out in any way or form. Most tracks seem to sound down-tempo and dull, with Okereke being the only one who is allowed to stand out, despite failing to do so.
Perhaps the nostalgia of Bloc Party’s earlier efforts have worn off, and the band are sadly no longer that great indie-rock band you enjoyed all those years ago. ‘Hymns’ comes across as a very poor work from a band who have produced better, with it being arguably worse than their last studio album. Bloc Party seem to have just lost themselves and their way, and don’t really know how to achieve the standard they themselves set all those years ago. You can make reinventing your band work, but at this point there’s barely anything here making ‘Hymns’ an album worth listening too. Maybe loyal fans will attach themselves to ‘Hymns’, but deep down they all probably know it’s not really as good as it all could be.
- ★★☆☆☆ 2/5
- The Love Within
- The Good News
- Living Lux
Bloc Party’s fifth studio album ‘Hymns’ is out now.