Bloc Party – Alpha Games (Album Review)

Bloc Party – Alpha Games (Album Review)

The ever unique Alternative Rock outfit Bloc Party are back in 2022 with their brand new studio album Alpha Games. Due out on April 29th via Infectious / BMG, Alpha Games marks the band’s sixth studio album since their formation in 1999.

A long time coming, it has been six years since the release of Hymns back in 2016. That in mind, the less informed fan might wonder…where has Bloc Party been all this time? Well, it has not been all radio silence, because they did some touring into 2019, and Kele Okereke (lead voice/guitarist) has put out 3 albums of this own over in the past 6 years. Now Kele, Lead Guitarist Russell Lissack, Bassist/Keyboardist Justin Harris, as well as Drummer Louise Bartle come together once again for 12 brand new songs.

An album a few years in the making, perhaps the extra time to prepare these new songs benefited Bloc Party. This point is raised because the music sounds fresh and full of character. That said, it begins with the catchy “Day Drinker” before leading into the album’s first single, “Traps.” The latter, “Traps,” is the perfect re-introduction for Bloc Party fans; it is upbeat, danceable, and easily remembered.

From here “You Should Know the Truth” offered a well-balanced approach musically and “Callum Is a Snake” hits you with a strong rhythmic arrangement while also sticking in your head with the droning “you have been warned.”  Meanwhile tracks like “Rough Justice” get into their own groove all thanks to some thick electronic bass, “The Girls Are Fighting”  keeps you moving, before “Of Things Yet to Come” mellows out the mood with some beautiful and dreamy melodies. Followed up next “Sex Magik” is dizzy trip that is also extremely hypnotic while “By Any Means Necessary” pumps up the beat even more.

Well into the thick of the album, “In Situ” feels a bit more intense while putting some subtle pressure onto you as it builds up into the chorus. Then “If We Get Caught” calms things down with a sensual tone before everything comes to a closer with the emotionally heavy “The Peace Offering.” 

Staying true to themselves, Bloc Party’s music remains danceable, yet deep. The best part of it all is Alpha Games is slightly odd and that is refreshing in a world full of predictability and conformity. It is true that it might not sink into your head entirely after one listen, but give it a few spins and you will find yourself loving it more each time. Thoughtful lyrically, musically clever, and tied together nicely with Kele’s charming British accent,  Cryptic Rock gives Alpha Games 5 out of 5 stars. 

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Nina Mende
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