Bloc Party - The Nextwave Sessions
The "Are they? Aren't they?" question has loomed large over Bloc Party ever since the rushed release of third album Intimacy in 2008. Alternating between hiatus, solo projects and short lived touring spurts since then, Kele Okereke & co have been the epitome of instability. Luckily Bloc Party thrive on their reckless approach; in this instance The Nextwave Sessions is the dynamic, bolshy next step needed to defy career stagnation. Deflecting any kind of genre is the game plan as usual, absorbing influences as varied as post-punk through to trance beats, soldered together by the swooning baritone of anti-hero Okereke.
Leading the pack is 'Ratchet', which has gathered blistering pace since its first live airing at the start of the year. Take the lyrics with a pinch of salt and this track could easily slot into 2006's reputation-solidifying A Weekend In The City. Curveball track 'Montreal' lowers the tone, its pensive tone perhaps reflective of the future of the band. Taking a break from music has kept output from the group fresh against a background of debilitated indie outfits - rocky relations within the camp keep everybody on their toes, yet they always deliver eventually. The forthcoming self-declared indefinite hiatus should not be taken at face value. It would be a great loss to the Bloc Party faithful if the potent punch delivered here doesn't provoke more intrusive, indefinable material from the London based foursome.