When Bloc Party returned last year, announcing sixth album ‘Alpha Games’ with lead single ‘Traps’, you might have quickly checked your calendar to see if it was 2021 or 2005. An indie banger reminiscent of the breakthrough years of the band, if you thought the return to the heavier sound of days gone by was any indication of what to expect from the record as a whole, however, Kele Okereke wants you to think again.
“The first song [‘Traps’] has this driving energy, but I think there are a lot of different facets and a lot of different sides to the record,” he says. “I think we all thought if we were going to make a record, it had to have the potential to blow us away.”
Ideas for the album began to form pretty much right after the band’s ‘Hymns’ tour ended in 2016, but those well-known “unforeseen circumstances” resulted in the band – completed by OG member Russell Lissack, and new additions Justin Harris and Louise Bartle – revisiting and polishing the album over the past few years. Drawing inspiration from the restless world around them, this manifested in an outing that Kele admits is “pretty dark”.
“There’s a lot of conflict in music,” he explains. “There are a lot of people fucking each other, people lying to each other, people manipulating each other. It’s kind of a direct response to what I was seeing; we’ve actually seen this happen all over the world over the past few years. It was a pretty ugly time, and I think that played into the music.