Album Review: Bloc Party - Hymns

21 January 2016 | 3:54 pm | Sevana Ohandjanian

"There are plenty of bands doing this music better right now, and Bloc Party sound tired."

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Kele Okereke has been making great music under his own name for the last few years, so why he continues to resurrect the seizing near-corpse of Bloc Party is inexplicable. Now reduced to half the original members, the band's latest effort is either exasperatingly dull or frustratingly close to being something good, depending on how you take it.

There are moments that spark a tap of the foot, or perhaps a little dance — see Only He Can Heal Me or opening track The Love Within. Okereke's voice is still fantastically charismatic, always tinged with a hint of desperate hope. His metaphors are as literal as can be; see the baptismal allusions in the country-tinged The Good News. Fortress is an equally dull semi-bass dance tune, and with no peaks or troughs, there's nothing to drive it. The truly terrible opening line of "This fennel tea you brought for me does its magic discreetly" from Into The Earth leaves one wondering whether Okereke was aiming for philosophical, because it comes off banal — like most of the songs here. Truth is, there are plenty of bands doing this music better right now, and Bloc Party sound tired.

Diehard Bloc Party fans are probably thrilled that Okereke keeps trundling on with the band, but anyone else will question why he hasn't let it lie and moved fully into the solo career he is clearly destined to flourish in.