As of Latitude on July 19th, Bloc Party are in “indefinite hiatus”, and with well-publicised creative differences since 2009, we cannot be certain if the band will ever come back. With five new songs recorded on the 2012-2013 tour for the solid but unspectacular album, 4, which was at times an aggressive and melancholic release – this could prove to be the band’s autopsy. These fluctuations make The Nextwave Sessions EP an incredibly schizophrenic work.
Make no mistake however; this EP is a tight and entertaining peace of work, building on the sound of 4. I cannot enthuse enough how much of a quality indie track Ratchet is. It seems to be the spiritual successor to earlier track, The Prayer – in concept, yet with a bouncing bass line and Kele spitting “Make it loud / Make it proud / Make it count”. This should be considered as one of their classics, along with Hunting for Witches, et al.
The more introspective tracks, Obscene and Montreal, are also worth listening to, with Obscene admirably augmented by a pulsing beat – it almost sounds like trance or chillstep (thankfully however without a drop). It shares a similar vibe to tracks such as the Skream remix of In for the Kill. French Exit is a weak point, with the same aggression of Ratchet without completely effective implementation. Meanwhile the cryptically named, Children of the Future, sounds far more like Kings of Leon than Bloc Party. Whilst a decent track, I prefer the angular riffs that we’ve come to expect from Kele and company.
Over-analysts will surely speculate on the lyrics of the tracks, especially Obscene and Children of the Future. Does Obscene’s refrain “I wish you love” signify a fond farewell to a dedicated fanbase and a talented yet dysfunctional band? Or does the refrain of the final track “The next page / The next stage … Time is on my side”, suggest a return one day? Of course we’d all prefer the latter – yet even if this isn’t the case, Bloc Party have left a legacy of memorable angular riffs and schizophrenic indie floor-fillers.