Once I Was An Eagle
Do Bloc Party thrive on turmoil?
That's the hope anyway. What other reason could there be for the farce they embroiled themselves in last year when first singer Kele Okereke was leaving the band and then he wasn't, then the band were auditioning new singers behind his back and then they weren't? The joke was on us, apparently.
Still, they're clearly together once more, four years after their last album Intimacy and two years after Okereke's well-received solo effort The Boxer, and all that upheaval's led to – well – a Bloc Party album.
Bloc Party albums maintain a level of quality control that's never since equalled the peak of classic early single Banquet, but remains at the 'quite good' mark. So there's oodles of adequate post-punk in the wiry Team A, the rattling workout of 3x3 and the machine gun guitars of Octopus, and decent, warm atmospherics in the Radiohead adventures of Day Four and sweet coos of Truth.
Sure, they occasionally raise their game with a bit of US rock muscle on the fuzzy churn of Kettling – where there's a less abstract lyric for once and Okereke's yelp finds some urgency – or the country picking of Real Talk, but too often this is Bloc Party by numbers. And that's pretty much what we expect now.