Bloc Party – Alpha Games
By Michael Bamarni | Top Tracks: Traps, Callum Is a Snake, The Peace Offering
Bloc Party have recovered from their underwhelming last record, Hymns, with the guitar driven and infectious, Alpha Games
What’s more British than Bloc Party? This is my question. I ask with complete sincerity and ignorance. If you’ve ever wanted to feel like you’re the king of the world, go to London and blast “We Are Not Good People” from the criminally underrated Four album on your headphones and you’re all set. I haven’t done this before, but I know it’ll work.
Bloc Party have always been able to separate themselves from the never-ending list of guitar driven rock band’s formed in the 2000s by making a conscious effort to blend their crazy guitar and drum furiosity with electronic experimentation.
When they lean a bit too much into one of these two sounds they either become too familiar or too strange for their own good. Sadly, those strange experimental tendencies led them into releasing the worst LP of their career with Hymns (their most recent release from 2016).
Luckily, the band have learned from that misstep and have come back strong in 2022 with the energetic and angry Alpha Games. Whose title in itself had me extremely invested (we all know guys who can’t help but make every single thing an ego battle… ease up Callum).
So, does the record strike gold? No. But it definitely gets the silver.
Starting off with “Day Drinker” and “Traps”, the record starts off with some in your face rock. Their new drummer, Louise Bartle, is an incredible musician and her insane performances on these two tracks in particular are absolutely mesmerizing.
Some other highlights on the record include the public shaming provided by the punk inspired “Callum Is a Snake”, the groovy and sing-along funk of “The Girls Are Fighting”, and the epic build-up finale that is “The Peace Offering”.
With that being said, the record does have some duds. The painfully generic chorus in “Rough Justice” basically kills the entire song and the overall uninspired “Of Things Yet to Come” could have easily been left on the cutting room floor. Also, it should be noted that lyrically, frontman Kele Okereke often provides some cringe inducing moments…. Fortunately, the album more than makes up for it with incredible melodies and instrumentals.
Overall, this record is most definitely a return to form from the bloc party across the pond.
Overall score: 8/10