Bloc Party
Alpha Games



by Reverse Perpendiculars USER (27 Reviews)
March 26th, 2023 | 5 replies

Release Date: 04/29/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Bloc Party would like you to think that they still have it.

“We knew [Traps] had to be the first thing people heard from this album,” says frontman Okereke, sounding off a glimmer of hope to the wounded feelings of fans that have adjured the group to return to the days of viscerally alerting post-punk. Amidst a dance beat and some clever snare play on the aforementioned track, Kele gives us a laundry list of poorly imagined pick-up lines and attempts to relegate his agonistic expressions (such as calling Oasis band members “inbred twins,” and disparagements of Kanye West in solo work) to an amounting display of masculinity, and more conceptually, an urging to make note of the increase in asserting dominance over others in modern society - in workplaces, in friendships. With a title like Alpha Games, he gives enough credence to this attempt at rectification. Day Drinker’s stripped down effects, along with louder and pensively urged percussion show an immediate grasp at their heydays, until things quickly appear more relaxed and reserved than they would seem. The most testosterone-laden moments (Callum Is A Snake, Day Drinker, and Traps) are mostly withdrawn in their stance, offering up a mere wisp of avidity and emotion to latch onto.

It then goes without saying that it has been six years since Hymns. Their sleek jousts have long taken a career backseat to their desires to experiment and slow their pace. Now, its return is largely anemic, as though performed as a reluctant favor. Okereke and Lissack drudge along with their casters until they nearly appear compelled to step off the record (The Girls Are Fighting, Sex Magik, Peace Offering), as if protesting against each other in their own province of government. This leaves the bulk of the load to be carried by Harris and newcomer Bartle, who deserves praise for her varied staccato which gives the group a wonderful sense of synchronization – see her succinct and admirable handiwork in Callum and Rough Justice, as well as her illuminating backup vocals on If We Get Caught which she had to push to keep in the final cut – but even with those unique moments, the breaks into dance beats and by-the-numbers rhythms elsewhere do little to illude that there’s a worthwhile melody beneath.

The dozens of seconds that bookend In Situ are more appealing than the convoluted mess of ideas in-between, appearing as a neutered track that once had a discernable and clear target in mind. Considering the supposed thematic context of the album, it’s not a stretch to speculate that a few charged barbs could have been stripped/pruned, since Kele is able to retain attention when he is openly throwing spears at Morrissey and Brandon Flowers for thoughts on the political stirrings within the UK. The periodic moments where he dishes out fortune cookie-tier snippets of wisdom to move things along (This is not the time to go rogue / You need to get your hustle on / You can get it anytime that you want) are inches towards what fans have clamored for all these years.

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user ratings (48)

Comments:Add a Comment 
March 26th 2023


Album Rating: 2.5

Alternate summary: The party isn't over, but it has run its course and people would like to go home now

March 26th 2023


Album Rating: 3.3

fair enough review. If We Get Caught is still one of their best tunes to me. love Truth and Things Yet to Come too

March 26th 2023


Album Rating: 3.0

you should know the truth is tune

the rest is strays between bad to mildly good with flashes of brilliance and utter dogshit

kele needs better lyrics

March 27th 2023


Album Rating: 2.5

>fair enough review.

tanks. If We Get Caught is a standout for sure. There's some good moments here, but they're just too far apart

>kele needs better lyrics

[2] agreed

March 27th 2023


This sucks im sure but I dont have the will to check

nice review tho

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