Review Summary: The Dullness Within
This is not what I want from Bloc Party. In fact, I don't want this from anyone. "The Love Within" sucked and I hated it since I first heard it. Surprisingly, I learned not to hate the track, but I just still don't like it. The chorus is quite cool, but that synth riff. Oh man, that synth riff. It's so unbelievably unpleasant. It doesn't help that it actually only SOUNDS like a synth riff, because it's a guitar which makes that godawful noise. But yeah, I was ready to cope with that song on Hymns
When I listened to Hymns
for the first time, I was relieved that it's not as embarrassing as it could have been. It is not an album full of deafening synth/guitar/whatever sounds. But there's a catch! Hymns is boring as ***
First I was worried when Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong left, but when I watched some live videos with the new members, it was all good. The drummer was able to play everything as well as Matt did. But listening to Hymns
, their absence is very visible. Especially the energetic drumwork, which was a staple of Bloc Party, is absolutely gone. All we get are simplistic beats, working only as an undistracting background to Kele's soft vocals. If playing these tedious beats made Matt leave, I don't really blame him.
The saddest thing about Hymns
is that almost every song has a great idea buried under a lot of bad ideas. "Only He Can Heal Me" could have been a nice little song, if the chant hadn't lasted for its WHOLE duration. "Different Drugs" which is the album's most ambitious track possesses a great somber atmosphere, which is destroyed by Kele's pseudo-falsetto cringeworthy vocals. "Into the Earth", a song with a sweet guitar sound is again dragged down by Mr. Okereke's sing-talk style in verses.
But there are at least some positives. "The Good News" is one of the few songs on Hymns
which actually brings some excitement. The chorus is catchy and the guitar has an enjoyable country tone. Another bright spot is the serene closer, in which Kele truly shines and brilliantly leads the album to a close.
Overall though, I wish this album is the absolute bottom of Bloc Party. I hope they can bounce back on their next record and do something which can compare with their first three albums, or at least with Four
. Because Hymns
is absolutely incomparable to those.