Album: The Nextwave Sessions EP
Record label: Frenchkiss
Bloc Party occasionally show their worth, but ultimately "The Nextwave Sessions" feels superfluous
Maybe it's a kind of psychosis that comes with being one of Indie's most prosperous outlets, but these days Bloc Party's ability to divide opinion almost outweighs the chance of them ever regaining the kind of critically acclaimed hum that clung to their 2005 debut "Silent Alarm." It's a thing that can be countered by the general consensus that last year's "Four" was perhaps their best record since the debut (an opinion admittedly lost on this reviewer), but Okereke & crew seem to spark either manic interest or general indifference.
"The Nextwave Sessions" is a 5- track EP whose purpose seems unclear. We can only assume, realistically, that they did it purely to have fun. Fair enough, and there's certainly no waste of effort or emotion here. "Montreal" has soft, nuanced percussion and an understated, driving bass line that reflect's the band's renowned interest in Dance music, and lyrically it sees Okereke adopt a Morrissey- esque tone in his bleakness as he sings "Tony keeps phoning, he wants his money... You're messing with the big boys now." "French Exit" is the kind of atmosphere heavy, reverb- drenched post- punk that would have fitted well on "Four."
But unfortunately, more often than not Bloc Party find themselves struck down with the "dull" sickness here. You'd be forgiven for thinking opener "Ratchet" was a Dizzee Rascal cover, and though it's upbeat there is little in the way of substance. The faded, throbbing haze of "Obscene" fails to be interesting, as does the quietly preachy closer "Children of the Future."
Apparently Bloc Party are due to take another break after this EP. By the end of it the idea that Bloc Party are simply having fun rings clear, but it just isn't enough. There are glimpses here and there of the exciting band we all know they can be, but the overall feeling of coming away from "The Nextwave Sessions" is "... Meh."
Key Tracks: Montreal, French Exit
For Fans of: The Cure, Foals