ICYMI, the big music news this week is the return of mid-noughties Brit rockers, Bloc Party. Earlier this week, the band announced that they will be playing their ‘Silent Alarm’ album in full at six European shows in October. And, to the surprise of absolutely nobody, the tour’s London date at Alexandra Palace sold out this morning, within half an hour of going live.
Though the excitement surrounding this news is nothing short of palpable, there’s an air of confusion as to the reasons for the tour. The iconic debut was released in 2005, and the opportunity for a ten year anniversary show was bypassed. When NME interviewed Kele Okereke in the run-up to the landmark date, the front man dismissed the idea, labelling anniversary tours “cynical” and “cringey”.
Elsewhere in 2014, Okereke told Music Feeds “I think the most impressive thing that we could do as a band would be to respond [by] looking forward and keep on making music to say that we’re still motivated”. He continued, “I think that’s more important than revival or some kind of nostalgic experience…”
This isn’t the only thing that’s ruffling feathers though. Fans have expressed disappointment that original members Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong won’t be performing the album they had a huge hand in writing. Having made their acrimonious departures many years ago, the pair have long been replaced by bassist Justin Harris and drummer Louise Bartle as official members.
So if there’s no reunion and no anniversary, it all leads to the question: what does the tour mean? The band have taken a handful of indefinite hiatuses over the years, yoyoing back and forth from the spotlight. Is this tour their way of setting the stage for a return, or finally drawing the curtains?
Since their last break in 2013, they’ve been relatively quiet with touring and releases. Live performances have been scattered in the years subsequent, and even when the band visited London’s Roundhouse for two dates last year, it felt exactly like the kind of nostalgic experience Kele was trying to avoid.
It’s a similar situation with recorded material. The band released 2016 full-length ‘Hymns’ to little fanfare. And since Bloc Party enlisted Justin and Louise three years ago, they’ve only produced one track as a four piece,‘Stunt Queen’, which sounds like it could be a B-side from that iconic debut. Bloc Party have been playing the nostalgia game for years, eeking out the better half of their back catalogue at every opportunity. But this time, with the tour unashamedly dedicated to a nostalgia trip, it seems Bloc Party have reached their final destination.
Buy the original Silent Alarm CD here.