Originally published in The Edge
The Bloc Party of 2015 is not the Bloc Party you know and love, or even the Bloc Party of Four. Since their latest hiatus began in 2013, half the band – drummer Matt Tong and bassist/backing vocalist/glockenspiel player/album art designer Gordon Moakes – have split away after being together through much of this millennium. Early 2016 will bring new album Hymns, with added Louise Bartle and Justin Harris, and ‘The Love Within’ is our first chance to gauge the transition.
The crescendoing sound of a synthetic organ (which the band assures us is entirely guitar) welcomes us to the service, before Kele Okereke reminds us who we’re dealing with in six words – “Lord, give me grace and dancing feet” – from 2007’s ‘The Prayer.’ There’s no subtlety in the religious references and it wouldn’t really be Bloc Party without some reference to mysterious substances, yet it ranks as one of the band’s most contented tracks. ‘The Love Within’ brings no gloom.
This isn’t Silent Alarm. This isn’t even Intimacy. It is, however, a triumphant return for Bloc Party and a delightful taster of what to expect from the “eclectic” Hymns next year. Those searching for rampant guitars will be disappointed, but for those seeking Kele’s smooth tones over four minutes of pulsating glory, the service begins soon.
Out now via BMG