Review Summary: As a mish-mash of b-sides, remixes and demos it shouldn't be any surprise for you to learn that this collection doesn't deliver a coherent experience.
Whether you like Bloc Party
or not, it's impossible to deny the huge impact the band have had on our generation. From Silent Alarm
to the horrendously underrated (at lease on this site) Intimacy
, their style personified the trend of the times: seeing off the last of 90's Indie Rock and embracing electronic beats. For myself and many others, the band acted as a gateway into the world of music beyond the radio - as a result they remain something of a fond memory: maybe not quite as good as we remember them, but a part of our musical heritage nonetheless. I still remember sitting round a table in an art classroom, with Silent Alarm
playing on repeat, talking to people I'd never otherwise have spoken to if it weren't for Bloc Party
(which, coincidentally, is the main factor I blame for me not getting an A*). Even now I can scroll down on iTunes to see that there are plenty of their songs in the 100+ plays zone.
Another Weekend in the City is
this fond memory, absolutely perfect for someone such as me to find over a year after the band broke up. The LP shows signs of songs all throughout Bloc Party
's career: the energy of Silent Alarm
, the brooding of A Weekend in the City
and the brand new angle of, the yet to be released, Intimacy
. However, here we get a side to the band which is only hinted at elsewhere. Another Weekend
is personal, takes focus away from the frankly questionable lyrics somewhat and, above all else, doesn't try to be too clever.
Despite being an album of b-sides, there is no obvious drop in quality from any of Bloc Party
's mid-era releases. They do, however, suffer from the same problems - mainly that most of the songs seem to have been made in a template (verse, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus) and also the aforementioned lyrics, which are often accused of being too cliche to mean anything. Kele (vocals/guitar) does manage to pull some catchy, anthemic hooks out of the bag however, "I will not listen and I won't be told/ England is mine I will take what I want"
and the repeated line opener of "When I was your age..."
display him finally coming to grips with the storyteller-lyricist style. These efforts often go beyond many of the a-sides - so it becomes apparent that these songs were left off any LPs simply because they didn't fit into an album's "theme".
Regrettably, Another Weekend
is nothing if not inconsistent. While every song on the disk is certainly listenable, with good parts to be found in all corners of the album, some songs do tend to drag a bit, or they keep returning to one central idea. In effect, there really isn't too much depth to many of the tracks. On top of this, the remixes included on the disk, 4 in total (and all of The Prayer), really aren't up to much at all. They're uninspired, often only slightly deviated from the original song and the one which is "okay" (the one by Does It Offend You, Yeah?) mirrors many songs on the rest of the album by rotating around one good idea. Sometimes, though, simple is good, and for what they're worth there are plenty songs which are interesting enough to stick around in your head. Plus, the lack of any excess baggage, so to speak, means the songs also lack the pretensions which burden some of Bloc Party
In the end, Another Weekend
certainly isn't pushing any boundaries or winning any awards for excellence, but the few gems to be found within the LP make it worth the while for any fans of Bloc Party
, or indeed anyone willing to take a trip down memory lane.