Why Bloc Party’s ‘Silent Alarm’ shows will be worthless without the original line-up

Don't ruin the memories....

Here’s some news to brighten your Monday morning: Bloc Party have only gone and announced that they’re playing ‘Silent Alarm’ in full later this year.

Upon release in 2005, the record immediately carved an immortal place in the hearts of indie fans across the land who found resonance in the record’s far reaching themes of love, loss, and the mundane occurrences of everyday life.

Even now, a whole 13 years later, you’ll be hard pressed to find an indie club night that doesn’t blast the skittered guitars of ‘Helicopter’ across its cider stained floors on a weekly basis.

But just sometimes, it’s best that the past remains precisely that – and it’s the very state of Bloc Party in 2018 that makes me think that a ‘Silent Alarm’ tour shouldn’t happen at all.

At their peak, Bloc Party’s formidable reputation as a live act was entirely down to the unbreakable on-stage bond between Kele Okereke, guitarist Russell Lissack, bassist Gordon Moakes and drummer Matt Tong.

Take their performance of Helicopter on Jools Holland only months before the record’s release – which sees the band channelling the chemistry that made their debut album so revered in the first place as Okereke’s vocals are perfectly anchored by Tong’s ferocious drumming.

Now, Lissack and Okereke remain the sole survivors of the original line-up, with Moakes and Tong replaced respectively by Justin Harris and Louise Bartle after their acrimonious departures in 2013 and 2015.

To the credit of the new recruits, they’re doing a decent job in keeping Bloc Party afloat – 2016’s ‘Hymns’ was a surprisingly successful return from the brink with the electronic sound that Okereke continually flirted with during the later stages of the original line up.

But can they bring any sense of worth or justification to playing a record that emerged a whole decade before they joined the band?

I honestly struggle to see it – it’s the unique musicianship of Tong and Moakes and their personal connections to the album that made Silent Alarm such a success during Bloc Party’s live shows.

Without the original line-up in tow for the tour, Bloc Party risk presenting fans with a pale imitation of a record that still sounds as innovative as it did upon initial release.

That, and the very real chance of tarnishing the golden memories of fans who leaned on the record as a soundtrack to their teenage years.

The final word, of course, must go to Kele himself – who previously nailed his colours to the mast when asked about the prospect of touring Silent Alarm.

“I always cringe a little bit when you hear about bands going around just touring on a kind of anniversary record. I feel that it just seems a little bit cynical”, he told MusicFeeds in 2014.

All considered, it might just be time that he heeds his own advice.