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New members invigorate Britain's Bloc Party

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2016

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Four years isn't a long time between albums any more.

But it proved to be an eventful interim for Britain's Bloc Party.

After touring to support 2012's "Four," the group lost its founding rhythm section -- bassist Gordon Moakes and drummer Matt Tong, who both left during 2015. But frontman Kele Okereke says the change has proved to have more than just a silver lining.

"I think, to be honest, new members rejuvenate a band -- it certainly rejuvenated me," Okereke, 34, says by phone from a tour stop in Atlanta. "It certainly made me feel more excited about being in a band and making music. The issues we had between the (original) four of us had kind of been going on for quite some time and had become kind of a drug.

"So we're definitely a lot more enthusiastic about the idea of making music and being in a band again."

Bloc Party's new members -- Justin Harris on bass and Louise Bartle on drums -- made their mark on Block Party's fifth album, "Hymns," which came out in January. Harris in particular had been on Bloc Party's for a number of years, according to Okereke. "I've known him in passing since 2007 and was a huge fan of the band he was in, Menomena, when they toured with us in 2009," Okereke recalls. "I remember thinking to myself back then that if we ever needed another bass player, it should be Justin. I always thought he was an incredible player, really, and had a really great feel.

"So when we did part ways with our bass player, it was great to get Justin involved, especially after we'd started to hatch that plan back in 2009."

And while "Hymns" has only been out since January, Bloc Party hasn't wasted time in continuing to explore the new lineup's possibilities. Okereke says the quartet was back in the studio during April, and while there's no idea when any of that music will be finished or surfaces, the prospect of new music sooner rather than later is "super exciting."

"I think now it's really starting to feel like a band," he says. "What we did sounds like nothing we've ever done before. There's a lot of energy, so I'm excited that it's going forward, and we hope to do some more before the end of the year."

Bloc Party and Ms Mr Oscar

Friday, May 27. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Majestic Theatre, 4140 Woodward Ave. Detroit.

Tickets are $26.50.

Call 313-833-9700 or visit majesticdetroit.com.

Web Site: www.majesticdetroit.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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