Review #161: Bloc Party – HYMNS

Artist – Bloc Party
Album – HYMNS (2016)

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Bloc Party are an indie rock band from London, UK. The band formed in 1999, interestingly at Reading Festival. After the departure of Bloc Party’s original drummer and bassist as of this album ‘Hymns’ they now consist of members Kele Okereke – vocals/guitar, Russell Lissack – guitar/keys, Justin Harris – bass/sax/keys and Louise Bartle – drums. Bloc Party found mainstream success with the album Silent Alarm and have developed a decent discography with such hits as ‘Helicopter’, ‘Banquet’, ‘Flux’ and ‘Hunting For Witches’. Bloc Party currently have 4 albums under their belt, all contrasting in style, the same certainly going for their most recent release ‘HYMNS’.

‘HYMNS’ begins with the first single release ‘The Love Within’, a song which seems to have divided Bloc Party’s audience. I personally enjoy the chorus, it has a catchy sing-a-long style, however the main bass melody just grates, it feels really cheap and kind of like what a kid first learning to produce music would create. ‘The Good News’ features a quarter way through this album and displays Bloc Party’s ability to explore genres a little out of their norm. This song includes a sliding acoustic blues riff throughout, which contrasts largley from the rest of the album, however Kele manages to match this riff well with his signature vocal tone/delivery, still making it a Bloc Party song. The rest of ‘HYMNS’ relies heavily on synths, programmed drums and heavily affected backing vocals, aggravating a lot of Bloc Party’s fan base (including myself) whom loved them for their fast paced indie hits (Helicopter, Banquet). The album as a whole is pretty bland as well, a change in sound for themselves as a band, but no innovation in the sound they have created, simply delivering a bunch of mediocre pop/indie/electronic style songs.

‘HYMNS’ is a disappointment, but one that seems to have been coming. The singles of this album didn’t really hype anyone up and the bands previous two album were kind of a miss, for me anyway. Bloc Party are probably set to be one of those bands that relies on their old hits to get gigs and maintain a fan base, bringing out a less than satisfactory album every so often for an excuse to tour.


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