Bloc Party
A Weekend in the City


4.0
excellent

Review

by Ben Greenbank USER (41 Reviews)
February 8th, 2007 | 146 replies | 18,135 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Forget everything you know about Bloc Party and prepare to bask in their new found sense of social responsiblity.

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Bloc Party’s first full length 2005’s Silent Alarm glistened with a stylish urban aura and in the same way as Blur always did, it felt like a “London” record. Where as Oasis are distinctly northern in its approach to lyrics and song writing, Bloc Party felt like what it in essence was; four southern kids making a splendid indie pop record. Silent Alarm of course lacked direction and the songs seemed to be coming from all angles and while the Bloc Party buffet offered a wide variety of choices what it didn’t offer was a really cohesive album with a solid flow. Yet despite its flaws Silent Alarm was hugely enjoyable and of course showed potential which most of the bands in the UK’s desolate indie scene would kill for. So having provided a solid basis for the future and just about surviving the NME hype with some credibility in tact, Bloc Party disappeared from the public eye and set about writing something special with their next record, that now being A Weekend in the City.

Charles Bukowski once wrote the infamous lines off self fulfilment, “If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start,” which I feel sums up Bloc Party’s approach to A Weekend in the City. It is a vastly changed record form Silent Alarm, the band clearly wanted to set themselves apart and they sure have done. Having completely abandoned their pop roots they have embraced full steam the post punk demeanour hinted at previously and combined that with post rock elements to create something both unique and brilliant. If post punk died with Ian Curtis in 1980 then someone really needs to let Kele Okereke know because this album is open homage to that scene as well as borrowing elements from The Cure and early Manic Street Preachers.

Lyrically it is a rapid departure with Kele moving onto the political battleground on Hunting for Witches, which serves as a furious attack on the scapegoat mentality of the press in the wake of The bombings on the London Underground and the general atmosphere from the "War on Terror". As worn as the topic is Kele has a lot more subtlety than say Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day. Kele sings, “The news copter says the enemies among us, as bombs explode on the 30 bus, Kill your middle class indecision, now is not the time for a liberal thought.” He embraces a more melodic style vocally and has toned down his cockney eccentricities whilst retaining a strong personal element, essentially it still sounds like the same singer but its clear he has matured and sings in a somber more monotone manner. Instrumentally there is a distinct urban vibe to the songs which Banquet displayed at on Silent Alarm but was sadly never really developed from there. Always a strong point of the bands sound, drummer Matt Tong is as spot on as ever providing complex beats which sound dance infused, this is an excellent contrast with the slower, withdrawn nature of A Weekend in the City.

Lead single The Prayer opens with an on/off drum clap with a slight electronic feel over which Kele sings, “Lord give me grace and dancing feet, And the power to impress, Lord give me grace and dancing feet, Let me outshine the moon” before the song moves into more familiar territory with the chorus which although more typical Bloc Party still has a new and more intimate sentiment. Elsewhere Sunday is a haunting, melancholy track which sounds very much like some of The Cure’s slower songs. By this stage its clear Bloc Party wont be filling dance floors with anthems like Helicopter anymore but they will hopefully be regarded as having made a though provoking record, as I Still Remember shows with its beautiful chorus which has a little of Snow Patrol’s pop vibe to it.

As with any album which shows progression and maturity there are going to be some fans who as predictably as the sun rising will say that the band have changed for the worse. Feel free to take these words lightly because this is a vastly superior album to anything Bloc Party have done previously and shows all the signs of a band who could someday achieve great things. I’ll leave you with the words of Charles Bukowski who sums up progression far better than I ever could.

"If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise don't even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives, jobs. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods. And the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It's the only good fight there is." -Charles Bukowski

Recommended Songs
Hunting for Witches
The Prayer
Sunday
I Still Remember

www.myspace.com/blocparty



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
February 8th 2007



3243 Comments


The Prayer is a good song.

Killer review as well =)

Kyle
February 8th 2007



667 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah this is the sort of killer review we need on new releases. Great stuff.

I'd give this album a 2.5 or a 3 though, the lyrics are too cringeworthy.

lunchforthesky
February 8th 2007



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks but im not too happy with my review it will do though i guess.

The Jungler
February 8th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I've listened to about 4 tracks off of this, I Still Remember being the worst. I'll probably check the whole thing out pretty soon.
Good job on the review.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2007



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is honestly really bad. Ugh. I tried reviewing it but I cant express how tedious this album is.

The Jungler
February 8th 2007



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

[quote=Iluvatar]This is honestly really bad. Ugh. I tried reviewing it but I cant express how tedious this album is.[/quote]How did you feel about the first album?

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2007



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Truthfully, this was the first Bloc Party I've listened to.

lunchforthesky
February 8th 2007



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I think a band so thoroughly British as Bloc Party doesnt translate well across the atlantic in the same way as Hank Williams and Creed dont exactly cause waves in the UK

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2007



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Ugh you bring up two of the worst artists/bands America has to offer.
Its no much that though as it is everything is so boring and the songs all seem to start off exactly the same. Not to mention lyrically its pretty dull stuff.

Sepstrup
February 8th 2007



1563 Comments


What's wrong with Hank?

Digging: How to Dress Well - What Is This Heart?

Dragon_Prince
February 8th 2007



272 Comments


Good review, this album didn't strike on me, I really like silent alarm. But respect for changing their style, I will always keep an eye on them ....

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
February 8th 2007



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

[quote=Hank Williams]Grr country[/quote]
I just personally find him to be devoid of real appeal.This Message Edited On 02.08.07

lunchforthesky
February 8th 2007



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

[quote=Iluvatar]
Ugh you bring up two of the worst artists/bands America has to offer.[/quote]

Yeah i struggled to think of a good american comparison but they were the first two to enter my head.

Intransit
February 8th 2007



2797 Comments


I can't imagine this being very good. This band is horrendous live.

Tu Se Morta
February 8th 2007



7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I bought this album a couple of days ago. I read a few reviews in Rollingstone that say it will dissapoint lovers of the first album. I really like the song Hunting For Witches, recommended to anyone, its great.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 9th 2007



1588 Comments


I don't see why this deserved a neg vote from someone, pretty decent review.

One thing that puzzles me though is your mention of the lyrics in Hunting For Witches in which you said it was about 9/11, but in my mind "The news copter says the enemies among us, as bombs explode on the 30 bus" smacks more of the London bombings.

Well actually tbph I am sure it is about the London bombings rather than 9/11.This Message Edited On 02.09.07

lunchforthesky
February 9th 2007



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I meant more in the wake of the current political climate post 9/11, which is what I think is what Bloc Party meant although I guess suspicians have certainly increased somewhat hear since the London Bombings.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 9th 2007



1588 Comments


I think its more focused in on the London bombings rather than the general climate, although it all goes together in one big theme really.

Its just "bombs explode on the 30 bus" refers to the route 30 bus that was blown up in the London bombings, and the other lyrics seem to resound the media reaction and the general reaction to the bombings.

lunchforthesky
February 9th 2007



1039 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I agree, but I think is more about the scapegoating in the long term than the actual bombings.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 9th 2007



1588 Comments


Yeah I understand that.

I just think you should consider editing the review slightly to reflect its focus on or mention of the London bombings, but thats just me and my 10 cents.



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