It has been 6 years since Bloc Party released their last album, 2016’s ‘Hymns’. Since then solo projects, anniversary tours, pandemics and life in general have taken over, but now they are back with their sixth studio album, ‘Alpha Games’.
The group of course shot to prominence with debut album, ‘Silent Alarm’ back in 2005 and their career took them into huge venues across the world. Recent years however haven’t seen a great deal of activity from the band, with a couple of line-up changes also occurring.
It’s hard now to take stock of where the band fit into the musical landscape, are they are nostalgia act, or a creative entity still? Are they full time or part time? What direction are they heading musically?
Well, the fact we are discussing a new album demonstrates that the band still appears a viable commodity. This is great news as the band always did stand out from the crowded indie scene of the so called noughties.
Predecessor ‘Hymns’ however received rather mixed reviews, so how will ‘Alpha Games’ fare and how will it position the band moving forward?
There are lots of questions here, but as soon as the album starts you sense the Bloc Party of old. Not in a rehash, cash in way but instead in the innovative and sonically diverse way that helped make them unique in the first place.
Opening duo ‘Day Drinker’ and ‘Traps’ set the standard early and the rest of the album manages to hold that level with only one or two slight lulls. There is a good mix of faster and slower numbers and the album flows pretty well with little drag.
This is a decent Bloc Party album that is well worth a listen, but it doesn’t really answer all the questions. Whilst this isn’t a lazy effort by any stretch of the imagination it isn’t groundbreaking either. It almost feels like the band hitting the reset button after a period of meandering change. Where they go next will be interesting.
Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes to headline Marshall Hootie
Welcome everyone to a special Easter edition of our weekly music News Report. We hope that you’re having a cracking weekend, and we have a cracking line-up for you as we begin with the latest festival announcements.
Marshall will be hosting a special celebration of their 60th anniversary this May. Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes will be headlining the Marshall Hootie in Viaduct Meadow, Hanwell.
They will be joined by Hot Milk, Crashface and Lyoness! Tickets are available here.
Fusion metal pioneers Dub War this week debuted their new single, ‘War Inna Babylon’ and you can listen above. The track features guest vocals from Roger Ranking of The Beat.
This song comes ahead of their new album, ‘Westgate Under Fire’ which arrives August 5th.
Speaking on the track and collaborating with Ranking Roger, Webbe says, “The original song by Max Romeo was in my family record collection as far back as I can remember. When meeting Ranking Roger, we discussed how punk rock and dub reggae had a massive influence on our lives. This song for us both was a massive hit, and we spoke about doing a collaboration and reviving the original with that Clash/The Ruts British punk rock energy to it.
Sadly, not long after we got to record the song with Roger, he passed away. But this song is one that we are very proud of, and we didn’t just do a cover – we really made this unique cover of “War Inna Babylon” our own.”
As always we close out our News Report with the latest additions to our ‘Discover’ New Music Playlist on Spotify. This week we have doubled up on the additions to celebrate Easter with the best new music!
‘MIRRORS’ – JUST MUSTARD
Dundalk five-piece Just Mustard share new single, ‘Mirrors’ taken from upcoming album, ‘Heart Under’.
Guitarist and “Mirrors” co-vocalist David Noonan says of the single: “”Mirrors”” was one of the final songs to be written for Heart Under, the lyrics and music arrived together in what felt like one moment and we wanted to keep the feeling of one thought or moment constant throughout the song”.
‘INSTRUCTION MANUAL’ – ALL BETTER
Brighton’s alt-punk trio All Better join the playlist with their single ‘Instruction Manual’. The song features on upcoming debut album, ‘How To Be Alone’ which arrives May 6th.
‘RESTITUTION’ – MODES
Kent metallers MODES feature with their new single, ‘Restitution’.
MODES frontman Ted Berry reveals that the new single“is a song that stems from difficult times that we have seen our closest friends and loved ones go through. Needing to give them support and a shoulder to lean on, while feeling that we can’t explain how or why we know what it’s like to be there because in that moment it’s not about us ,it’s about helping them”
‘BLESSED BE THY’ – WITCH FEVER
Witch Fever return with new single, ‘Blessed Be Thy’.
Bassist Alex Thompson says of the track, “it just goes heavy”, as it boasts a crunchy wall of noise akin to bands like Show Me The Body and Gilla Band
Alex adds, “it was literally the last song we wrote before we went into the studio but came together really quickly. I think it still has an essence of some of our older material, so it’s a good way to bridge the gap.”
‘I KNOW WHEN YOU LEAVE’ – GUISE
Ahead of the release of their debut album ‘Youngest Daughter’, ‘I Know When You leave’ is the latest offering from London-based GUISE is a dazzling, vocal harmony led track that sees the foursome joined by singer-songwriter Emily Barker.
Discussing the story behind the heartfelt new track Jessicaexplains “I wrote the words to ‘I Know When You Leave’ on a bus in Italy, and the tune came to me later back in London, Separation from the person I love is a pretty normal part of my life, but that doesn’t make it easy all the time; things are generally just a bit worse when we’re apart, and that’s what this is about.”
‘BLACKMOSS’ – SCRUFFY BEAR
Playlist and Podcast alumni Scruffy Bear return with new single, ‘Blackmoss’.
“The world is a proper heavy place. I hate that everything is spun so negatively and we are trained to look for the worst in people and situations. Blackmoss is trying to work through the mud of confusion that everything is in and not getting too bogged down with it, but also learning to be open to other people’s experiences” – Lead singer Georgy Eaton