Silent Alarm is the classic go-to record from post-punk revival band Bloc Party, period. If you don't know them (or if you do), it's the record to reach for 99% of the time. With that said, it was only a matter of time (in this case, just over 17 years) that they returned to the Silent Alarm sound for a nostalgia trip. While this English band certainly performs their self-imitation with some sonic success, it should not resonate with most people as any more than just that: a throwback attempt.
Props go out to the band for sounding young and vital, as the music backing Kele Okereke's voice is driving with pounding bass, jagged guitars, and disco beats. This new album, Alpha Games, is far from worthless, especially for longtime fans wanting more of the same, but it resides in the uncomfortable middle ground between not entirely satisfying and not an easy entry point. It's the classic problem of a band whose first album is universally recognized as the best. The rest of their discography is not good enough to warrant as a first-time alterative to Silent Alarm, nor is it something you usually want to listen to right after that great first record.
The Verdict on 'Alpha Games'
No one can fault Bloc Party for doing this; as previously stated, it was bound to happen eventually. But depending on your previous experience with the band, this might be lesser or at best exactly what you expected them to make. Whether you enjoy this band or not, Alpha Games is just a bypass on the way to or from Silent Alarm.