Suprise! Bloc Party are back! Hymns, their fifth record, arrives after some time away, with original songwriters Kele and Russell accompanied by a bass-player formerly of Menomena and a young drummer from Youtube. Initial single The Love Within has been picking up a lot of love from listeners, suggesting this might be a strong return. On Infectious Music.
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Just look at them. I don't know about you but the only thing I ever really liked about Bloc Party was the drummer. But he's not in it now and the band seems to be more of a Kele Okereke solo project than ever. Where does Bloc Party start and Kele end? Answers on a postcard, please.
Of course lead single 'The Love Within' was a total disaster and should pretty much be ignored unless you are trying to find an early winner for most irritating track of the year so let's move onto 'Only He Can Heal Me' which has a nice chanted vocal and the twangiest guitar solo this side of Luther Perkins. Okereke should also be applauded for speaking about his sexuality so directly in the macho world of tired post Brit pop. The thing is, this is just not the same band both literally and figuratively. This is most evident on the moribund 'So Real' which is a pleasant Radio 2 ballad with nothing, nothing that would suggest that these were once a fairly incendiary rock band.
It's poshly produced post break up angsty weep rock that lyrically has its own perspective but not even that can save clunkers like the gospel-ish 'The Good News' which features the immortal line "I used to find my answers from the gospel of St John now I find them at the bottom of this schoon.....glass". Is there anything good on here? 'Into the Earth' has a bit more edge with chunky guitars and a partially catchy chorus but even here and on the atmospheric rock of 'Virtue' it has the sense of music being made out of necessity by a bunch of hired hands.
File under: Kele solo album number three.
2/10 Gregor Omelasz 10th February 2017
A shame as well, because I thought their first three records were great for the time. But this isn't Bloc Party, this is basically Kele and Russell having a wank with guests.
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