Album Review: “Hymns” by Bloc Party

Album Review: “Hymns” by Bloc Party

Bloc Party’s newest release lacks consistency and rambles along without a solid theme.

From its beginnings, Bloc Party has been a success in the indie rock genre, with some of its most popular songs to date having been featured on its first album “Silent Alarm” in 2005. Since then the band has consistently released quality music that is both relevant and lyrically sound. In their latest release, “Hymns,” Bloc Party calms the mood down significantly, emphasizing the band’s mellow side. But the album falls short of the group’s previous standards, with tracks that fail to comment both on lyrical subject and musical theme.

The first four songs of the album appear to create a gradual transition along the music spectrum from heavy synthesizers to more organic, less electronic indie rock. These tracks interact well, but a clear, stylistic connection ends with these four: “The Love Within,” “Virtue” and “Living Lux” are in stark contrast from the rest of the album due to their liberal use of a tasteless, synthesized, organ-like rhythm. Electronic influence is sprinkled too heavily throughout the album and creates an impression of disorganization. “Hymns” proceeds to probe a range of genres at random, with no clear indication of an intentional arrangement.

“Hymns” also fails to remain thematically consistent. About 75 percent of the album is religiously inclined while the remaining 25 percent develops unrelated material. In songs like “Fortress” and “Living Lux” the group sings about money and women, deviating from the main themes of healing, love and grace in “Hymns.” For an album with very clear religious undertones, as made evident by the title, it’s odd to explore other territory without an explanation.

Despite its shortcomings, “Hymns” is not a complete bust. The different mood of each song, though lacking salient connections to one another, gives the album an eclectic quality. Listening all the way through gives a feel of sampling a wide scope of music, which is a distinct indication of Bloc Party’s range of skill. Though the album fails to form a coherent whole, many tracks are valuable as separate entities. “The Good News” and “Into the Earth” both hold their own as powerful singles, with “The Good News” already appearing on Bloc Party’s top tracks.

Bloc Party’s newest album “Hymns” is perhaps too ambitious. It attempts to combine electronic, indie and rock genres under a single, thematic umbrella, but the result is inconsistent and disjointed. Though a few songs are successful in melding together each of the album’s influences, the rest of the work ultimately falls short.

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