You would have good reason to have forgotten about Bloc Party; they’ve been on a hiatus since around the release of their fourth studio album- 2012’s Four. However, the brit-pop, post-punk crossing band have now realigned their crosshairs, in doing so announcing their long awaited fifth album- HYMNS. The group have gone through an array of directions with their sound over the years, more recently opting for more electronically-infused production. And if any of their singles were indicative of HYMNS’ direction, this trend would be continuing.
The album opens with a sombre isolated note, one that gradually introduces Okereke’s trademark vocals. Following track Only He Can Heal Me uses a similar structure, opting for an absence of heavy riffs or clattering percussion, focusing more on the layered progression of the track. So Real kicks it up a slither, possessing a riff icily similar to Tame Impala’s Let It Happen, this left me in some ways pining after a Helicopter-esque riff, however, at the same time I was satisfied without it. The first few songs give a good barometer of how HYMNS would eventually pan out.
It’s abundantly clear the sound that Bloc Party are trying to execute, this isn’t a trademark album of theirs, and the change in sound is instantly apparent. Fortress moves into nether regions of minimalist, Okereke’s vocals draped delicately over the top, while Different Drugs reminds us of their roots- still maintaining their experimental new direction. Bloc Party’s HYMNS is a lot of what I like, and in a world awash with emulating ‘indie rock bands’ ripping each other off, Bloc Party’s depart from this is a welcomed breath of fresh air.
Verdict – WWWV