Release Date: Feb 6, 2007
Record label: Vice
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
From the post-post-punk of their early EPs to Silent Alarm's sprawl of sounds and ideas, Bloc Party has never shied away from reinventing their music. They continue to evolve on A Weekend in the City, an unashamedly ambitious, emotional album that builds on where they've been before but still feels like a departure. Silent Alarm's eclecticism was one of its biggest strengths; not knowing exactly which Bloc Party you were going to get from song to song -- arty punks, unabashed romantics, or righteously angry rockers -- made for thrilling listening.
On their second album, post-punkers Bloc Party attempt to portray 48 hours in the life of their native London. Over 51 minutes of techno-tweaked rock, yelpy, tortured singer Kele Okereke takes on a mix of dreary characters, from powder-snorting hedonists (”On”) to bored blue-collar stiffs (”Waiting for the 7:18”). Too often, the music on A Weekend in the City is less memorable than the ambitious subject matter.
Bloc Party's second album begins like an episode of Panorama, full of frowning portent and ambition to say something about The State of Britain Today. Unfortunately, grand statements are not earnest frontman Kele Okereke's forte. Powered by tirelessly inventive drummer Matt Tong, Bloc Party are maturing into a great art-rock band, moving from clobbering crunk-influenced beats (The Prayer) to tender techno ballads (On).
Anthemic impulses collide with heady electronic effects on Bloc Party's second album. The good news is that the band remains committed to broader themes rather than mere tales of lost love. BP is the product of 21st century London, after all, and that means its attempt to rise above homegrown urban malaise – not to mention hometown terrorism – carries significance on both sides of the Atlantic.