Best Track: “Ratchet”
Coming off a hiatus with a huge tour and their highly-underrated 2012 album, “Four,” Bloc Party are set to take another hiatus. Something isn’t working inside the band, and while it’s frustrating to fans, it’s better to have them take breaks than try to fight through it and end in disaster. No sooner did they announce a hiatus than they also announced a new EP, “The Nextwave Sessions EP.” It serves either as a parting gift for a band that isn’t sure when they’ll be back, or a sign of the times to come, given it’s title. Either way, though, it doesn’t really serve any purpose and really just exists as five tracks that sound like they’ve been cut from previous albums.
Opening track “Ratchet” has been released as a single for the band, and it’s really a good song. A constant, tremolo guitar rhythm serves as a very danceable beat behind lyrics about getting, well, ratchet. It is a little different than tracks from their previous album. It’s a catchy track that can get stuck in your head after only a few listens. Second track “Obscene” follows up nicely, as a much softer and slower song, but maintaining a kind of catchy, tremolo rhythm. “French Exit” is kind of a throwaway loud song, and it definitely could’ve been a lost song from “Four,” and album that had it’s fair share of heaviness. The last two tracks, “Montreal” and “Children of the Future” are forgettable slow ones. Three of the five songs on this EP are slower. If this is a final piece for the band, it shouldn’t be how they’re remembered, given their famously crazy live performances.
Bloc Party actively promoted this EP, releasing one of the singles and getting it reviewed in different reviews. They haven’t intended this to be a little, “for fans only” release. But it just doesn’t feel like it has any reason to exist. All of these tracks could have just been on earlier albums, or better left unrecorded. “Ratchet” is great and “Obscene” is good enough, but they can’t save the fact that this EP’s mere existence is confusing. It’s a good listen for core fans. The rest of us just have to wait for the next reunion.
-By Andrew McNally