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Bloc Party make a change with The High Life EP

"The High Life"

Release date: 21 July 2023
Bloc Party The High Life EP Artwork
19 July 2023, 09:21 Written by Vicky Greer

Bloc Party have always been underrated in the cohort of indie rock bands who emerged in the post-punk revival of the early 2000s.

While they never quite achieved the same icon status as Arctic Monkeys or the Killers, their legacy can be heard in some of the most popular music around today, in The 1975’s swaggering indie-pop and, according to Hayley Williams herself, Paramore’s triumphant new album This Is Why.

They’ve evolved a lot since they debuted with Silent Alarm in 2005, turning their raw, early work into fuller, more expansive pop-tinged guitar music. Now, they’re delivering The High Life EP, which they’ve described as “a little bridge between Alpha Games and what’s next for the band.” Amid an ongoing indie sleaze revival, Bloc Party instead opt for fun danceability on the opening title track “High Life.”

But The High Life gives us the slower, more intimate side of Bloc Party, too, with love song “Blue” and its deeply personal, romantic lyrics. There’s a lot of love in lines such as “He says he likes the way I say his name / and I like the way he says mine.” It changes the overall pace of the four-track EP and shows off Kele Okereke’s multifaceted vocal delivery. Building until it becomes almost an entirely different song, “Blue” is the EP’s standout track.

Change is a significant theme on the EP – while each track has Bloc Party’s core elements of upbeat indie, the band infuse the songs with different flavours. “Keep It Rolling” – which also marks Bloc Party’s first collaboration as they enlist the help of rising pop-punk star KennyHoopla – employs a heavier breakdown and employs more traditional rock sounds.

The High Life offers many different music styles explored from the Bloc Party perspective, but there are also moments where the band could have leaned more into their concepts and pushed things further. Closing track “The Blood Moon” has some of the EP’s best lyrics, which tell the story of falling under someone’s spell, but they aren’t delivered with the conviction that would allow them to shine.

There’s no doubt that Bloc Party are keeping things fresh after all these years, spanning two decades and a couple of hiatuses. But while it’s an intriguing bridge into the band’s next area, The High Life doesn’t quite push the boat out enough to stand out among their best work.

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