Review: Hymns by Bloc Party

Hymns by Bloc PartyWith two of its original members departing, you don’t expect Bloc Party now to sound very much like the Bloc Party of ten years ago. Come to think of it, though, Hymns is not that drastic a departure – but it is compared to Four, the album that preceded it – but more of a the end of a natural evolution. Sure, Kele Okereke seems too keen on the religious imagery – perhaps the effect of the album taking inspiration from devotional music, of all things – but amidst the quiet lies a soulful tendency that’s stripped bare. Sometimes it works well, like in “So Real”, but sometimes it just feels a little limp, like in “Into The Earth”. I think it’s the baggage of the past talking here. You still come in expecting the gritty from Bloc Party (although A Weekend in the City was smoother on the edges – that’s a few years ago) and yet you now have what essentially are downtempo gospel tracks. But for what it’s worth, Hymns is an interesting record, a sign of the band trying on new clothes and seeing what fits. Maybe the album after this one will see them feel more confident in whatever they have decided to become. [NB] | 3/5

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