Brits Bloc Party are by now over a decade removed from breakthrough debut Silent Alarm, and much more recently the group lost bassist Gordon Moakes and drummer Matt Tong. Hymns doesn’t match their breakthrough greatness, but it is stronger than what they’ve been in a while.
Bloc Party had declined as guitars were replaced with electronics (a common sight these days), and Hymns unfortunately opens with the average synths of “The Love Within”. From there, however, the record definitely improves, particularly as singer Kele Okereke’s emotion carries it. Interestingly, the best songs on Hymns are the starkest ones that let Okereke shine, particularly second song “Only He Can Heal Me”, also “Different Drugs” and “Virtue”. There are also smoother, even slyer moments, which still retain sadness, in “So Real”, “The Good News”, and “Into the Earth”.
Between the title of Hymns and songs named “Only He Can Heal Me”, there is a definite religious tint to the album, in a non-denominational rebirth for a group changing members as they enter their second decade. And here’s to another ten years.