Bloc Party’s Alpha Games Shows How Indie Rock Is Made
English rock band Bloc Party released their new album, Alpha Games, on Friday.
On Friday, English rock band Bloc Party released their new album, Alpha Games. But with their sixth studio album, do the rockers still have what it takes to keep indie rock alive?
Bloc Party’s signature raw energy is definitely present in their new effort, but they’ve grown musically from where they started – and aren’t afraid to experiment.
My introduction to Bloc Party was playing the song Helicopter on Guitar Hero III. I have fond and fuzzy college memories of getting drunk with friends and smashing those colorful pimples until the wee hours of the morning. Sure, it wasn’t Through the Fire and Flames in terms of playing difficulty, but as a musician, the energy and punk aesthetic opposite Bloc Party made the song one of my songs. favorites to play – and listen to. the game console.
This led me to the band’s debut studio album, Silent Alarm – of which Helicopter is the second track – and I was hooked.
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I’ve always gravitated to Bloc Party lead singer Kele Okereke as a black musician myself who is also on drugs and plays guitar in genres that tend to be white-dominated.
His energy and undeniable songwriting abilities are engaging and even a little enigmatic. His voice has that punk rock angst, but can be soothing and melodic – even haunting at times.
As I dug into the band’s latest album, Kele’s vocals set the stage for guitar hooks that hit harder than Mike Tyson on an airplane.
And the tunes took off from there.
Alpha Games appears to be the band’s second album and a sequel to Silent Alarm.
Traps is a standout track and, as the second song on the new record, sets a strong tone for what’s to come. It’s heavy, but catchy, and listeners want more.
The next song on the album, You Should Know the Truth, begins the dive into indie rock and demonstrates Bloc Party’s versatility. One moment you want to bang and mosh to their songs, and the next you want to dance in your living room.
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It’s this push and pull that makes Alpha Games a solid record. Bloc Party plays with different genres in a way that doesn’t feel forced, but flows naturally and impressively.
Songs like The Girls Are Fighting have more of a pop feel, with singsong hooks and shameless lyrical repetition. The track Callum Is a Snake has a spoken vibe in its vocals, while Rough Justice is stylistically all over the place in the funniest way possible.
Sex Magik and By Any Means Necessary incorporate elements of dance music and electronic instruments, and while they’re not the album’s best offerings, it’s clear that inherent talent was required to craft them.
The album’s guitar work is truly amazing, especially in the song In Situ – which has a bridge with harmonizing guitars and a solo towards the end that seems to blast through the speakers. And Kele’s vocals have that range of emotions throughout that fans have come to expect from a Bloc Party record.
Alpha Games absolutely succeeds in adding another stellar record to Bloc Party’s discography, and continues the band’s journey through the progression of their sound. I found myself becoming a fan again.
If they make another Guitar Hero game and put a track like Traps in it, you’ll find me drunk at three in the morning, trying like hell to master it on expert mode.