Ten years after their debut LP, “Silent Alarm”, shook up the indie rock world, Bloc Party have returned, with a new look, new songs and a batch of tour dates to fit.
With past members Matt Tong and Gordon Moakes having left in 2013 and 2015 respectively, and rumours of the band having recorded a fifth album in the rumour mill, it was with trepidation fans headed to a couple of small gigs in California a couple of weeks ago. These shows along with FYF Fest in LA, saw Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack joined by American Justin Harris and new drummer Louise Bartle. Both were promptly introduced to the world by Kele, and new songs ‘Eden’ and ‘Exes’ featured, alongside the classics.
Then the bombshell; that a new album had been recorded and was due for release in the near future. Fans everywhere, myself included rejoiced. Bloc Party are a pivotal band for me, a band that opened up my 11-year-old ears to what indie rock could be and “Silent Alarm”, was the first record that really grabbed my attention as a youngster. From the moment ‘Banquet’ dropped, with its pulsating guitar riffs and Kele’s grasping, fighting vocals, I was hooked.
So the very last announcement, of a collection of European tour dates this Winter, really gripped me too, with gigs in Holland, Germany, France and Belgium, along with the pair of shows in the UK, at Manchester’s Albert Hall and London’s St. John’s Church. With Kele’s additional claim that the new album will be ‘the most gentle and most abrasive music we’ve ever made’, plus those unique, different venues, the sold out shows will be momentous moments for the band, back in their own backyard with a new line-up.
While some fans might critique a new, drastic line-up, I see it as a new, exciting chapter in the Bloc Party story, we had the breakout, overnight success, the tricky second album, the wicked, dance-laden anthems of “Intimacy”, the indefinite hiatus, the comeback and now a fresh start. Throw in each members own side-projects, and it was clear to see different band members wanted different things from the indie band. At least now everyone who is in Bloc Party wants to be making brilliant music in Bloc Party, and that is only a good thing for fans.
So what happens next? The untitled new album could still drop before the year is out, but with November and December seeing that European tour, I wouldn’t be hugely surprised to see it slip into January next year, either way it’ll be a brilliant festive gift for the music world. Expect new stories to be written, new tales to be told as one of the most unique bands in the modern-day music business, is back and is raring to go.
Bloc Party Tour Dates
November 27 – Paradiso, Amsterdam, Netherlands
November 28 – Live Music Hall, Cologne, Germany
November 29 – Astra Kulturhaus, Berlin, Germany
December 1 – Alhambra, Paris, France
December 2 – Cirque Royale, Brussels, Belgium
December 3 – Albert Hall, Manchester, UK
December 4 – St John’s Church, London, UK