Bloc Party - Back to their Best?

Bloc Party burst onto the scene 17 years ago last week (2 February) with Silent Alarm and ever since that have gone through a big journey as band. Only half of the original line up are left, Gordan Moakes (bass) and Matt Tong (drums) departed after Four and were replaced with Justin Harris and Louise Bartle. As a huge Bloc Party fan myself, what I had always enjoyed was the duelling guitar riffs and rhythmic fast pace of the bass and drums, and boy is that back.

New album, Alpha Games, will be released on April 22 accompanied by a tour and after hearing the opening single I am here for this! I was late to the party on the single Traps, with no personal social media accounts except twitter I rely on consequence and the age old tradition of conversation for new music these days. That and exploring on YouTube, Apple Music and 6 Music and I just hadn't stumbled upon this.

Traps feels like everything I like about Silent Alarm and Four; heavy, fast riffage with screaming guitar solos and a hooky chorus. This song is Bloc Party. Russel Lissack does Russell Lissack things on lead guitar and vocally the track is more reminiscent of Intimacy, which is fine. Not sure about the "lick lick lick, lickety split" line but I can't stop bloody singing it.

The Girls Are Fighting is a different beast. The bass line and the repetitive ringing guitar sound has me thinking of seventies tracks and this song has all the ingredients of a track that gets better with every listen. And that's what's happening so far. I can see it nestling in quite well somewhere in the middle of the album to bring listeners down a bit after a frenetic one.

I used to watch Bloc Party every time they released new music, which is not easy when you live in Cornwall because you ALWAYS have to travel for gigs, except the time they came to Truro! Hymns was the first time I wasn't fussed about catching them live and the first studio album without Gordon and Matt. Don't get me wrong it was a great album with some fantastic songs, Different Drugs, Only He Can Heal Me, Virtue and Living Lux being stand out tracks but the signature Bloc Party sound was missing. It seems to be potentially back.

Bloc Party live in 2012 at the Bristol O2 Academy

When I think about Bloc Party I generally think of the angled tracks like Banquet, Helicopter, Skeleton, Answers, Hunting for Witches, The Prayer, Kettling, Coliseum and We are Not Good People but I also think of the more gentle moments such as So Here We Are, Little Thoughts, Hero, Two More Years, I still Remember, Ion Square, Different Drugs and Truth. If they can create more songs I'd lump into my memories of Bloc Party, and get me back to watching them live then Alpha Games will be a return to the Bloc Party that made them my favourite band of all time after just one album. *Books tickets anyway for FOMO*!