Bloc Party have always made a habit of wrong-footing people but this latest EP might just be their strangest release yet. Released less than a year after their previous album, the rough and ready Four, a new EP so soon would normally suggest a renewed sense of creativity if it didn’t come with the puzzling news that Bloc Party are once again on indefinite hiatus.
But if this is to be Bloc Party’s last release, it’s certainly not a bad way to bow out. Opening number Ratchet is a brash electro stormer reminiscent of Mercury and Ares and totally unlike anything on their last record. It’s silly, with some borderline obnoxious faux-gangsta lyrics but it’s also a great deal of fun thanks to its thundering base and machine-gun drums.
Sadly, the rest of The Nextwave Sessions isn’t quite as out-there but it still makes for a good listen. Obscene and Montreal are a pair of slow and pretty ballads, French Exit is the kind of spiky guitar racket that would have been right at home on Four and the mid-tempo Children of the Future brings things to a pleasant, if slightly underwhelming, close.
If this really is to be Bloc Party’s last release then it’s an appropriately erratic end to a career filled with unexpected turns. It’s a fitting coda, even if it’s not perhaps the one they deserve.