Spin - "Okereke sounds more literally centered than he ever has. He's comfortable as the focal point of the less roiling, less violent new band..."
Entertainment Weekly - "Frontman Kele Okereke has been more committed than most of his peers in trying to extract humanity from machines and infusing bloops and bleeps with something resembling a soul, and first single 'The Love Within' may be his greatest feat in that regard." -- Grade: A-
NME (Magazine) - "Their most sombre, haunted and immersive record to date, it's so drenched in quasi-religious themes and tones..."
Clash (magazine) - "'Exes' is a pared-down, glittering apology to people that Okereke has hurt in the past. It's a beautiful vocal performance and a sign of where the band might yet strike gold in the future."
Personnel: Kele Okereke (vocals); Russell Lissack (guitar); Justin Harris (bass guitar); Alex Thomas (drums).
Audio Mixer: David Wrench.
Recording information: Lynchmob, London, UK.
Bloc Party returned after a two-year hiatus with Hymns, the first set of songs to feature drummer Louise Bartle and bassist Justin Harris, formerly of the band Menomena. Kele Okereke's fondness for soaring choruses and meditations on sex, drugs, and faith -- and how they often blur together -- provide the main connection to the band's previous work. Backed by slide guitars and a stomping beat, Okereke sings "I used to find my answers in the gospels of St. John/Now I find them in the bottom of a shot glass" on "The Good News." Hymns' ballads are some of its strongest moments, and the most reminiscent of Bloc Party 1.0 and Okereke's solo career. "My True Name" and "Fortress" serve as reminders that their plaintive melodies and soul-baring are still potent, while "Different Drugs'" chemically enhanced portrait of being alone together recalls Bloc Party's highest emotional peaks. "So Real" and "Into the Earth" are intimate, guitar-driven sketches that make the most of Hymns' more straightforward sounds and emotions while taking the band's music in new directions. ~ Heather Phares
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- Bloc Party Tapes [Digipak] (Kele)