Under different circumstances the release of BLOC PARTY‘s upcoming EP The Nextwave Sessions could have been a positive event. Five new tracks only one year after their powerful comeback record Four? Clearly not the worst thing. But the current situation of the British indie rock band leaves a bitter aftertaste. The signs of wear are undeniable. Guitarist Russell recently announced that the band seems to be pretty exhausted once again and needed a longer break after the summer. Tensions arise and since a couple of weeks drummer Matt Tong is absent from the group’s current festival run. He’s been replaced by HOT CHIP drummer Sarah Jones for the rest of the tour without any explanation. The band does not address the problem, but the voices in their environment who say “This is it” get louder. And BLOC PARTYs current policy of saying nothing works as a confirmation on itself.
Their is a high chance that these five tracks are actually the last new material we might hear from the group around Kele Okereke in a long time. Maybe forever. And it’s a reminder of everything you’ve loved or hated about the four-piece in the past ten years. The lead-track Ratchet marks the obvious hit, classical BLOC PARTY style. And in some way the rest of the EP works as a good potpourri of the group’s previous strengths. There is the tender ballad with Obscene, the slightly rough French Exit, the minimalistic and ambient-like Montreal and closing midtempo ballad Children Of The Future. Classical BLOC PARTY material – everything is in there. Matt Tong’s powerful drumming, Russell Lissack’s very own guitar play and singer Kele with his distinctive voice and clever lyrics. Of course – besides Ratchet – this is all b-side material compared to the band’s usual output. But still the quality is quite good.
The times are dark and they won’t light up once BLOC PARTY are gone. It kind of spreads solace when Kele gives a little advice in the optimistic Children Of The Future as he sings “Be all that you can be / Be all we never were / Succeed where we failed.” The future is unwritten and it is more than unclear if there is one for this unique group. This leaves a bittersweet note on The Nextwave Sessions, which – apart from that – marks solid work by the indie rockers. The EP will be released on August the 12th via Frenchkiss Records.