Saturday, 2 August 2008

Bloc Party, Weekend In The City

Bloc Party, Weekend In The City

Almost two years after Bloc Party’s whirlwind rise to pop stardom and indie pin-up status, their sophomore effort finally appears. Aside from ace first single 'The Prayer', a voodoo 'Hollaback Girl' spliced with Gregorian chants and trance synths, the remainder of the album is a much bleaker affair.

Opening track 'Song For Clay' has Kele pleading in a fragile falsetto over weepy chords; elsewhere the sound is filled out with snatches of warm synth, car alarm guitar effects and multilayered vocals, creating a much more' produced' result than its predecessor Silent Alarm and revealing the influence of artists like Bjork and Radiohead. Vocoders and xylophones give the album less of a live sound and show that Bloc Party are just as comfortable in the studio as on stage.

Weekend In the City mostly dispenses with angular disco-punk for throbbing, intense laments to life in the capital city – a shame, as producing quality dancefloor favourites is a rare skill that this band are endowed with. The slower songs are marred by over-familiar melodies and Kele’s often oblique and sometimes plain silly lyrics: “Spend all your time trying to escape/ with Su Doku.”

Bloc Party are growing into their own sound confidently, probably in a deliberate effort to rid themselves of comparisons with poppy chart-botherers like The Rakes and Kaiser Chiefs. Talking politics ('Hunting For Witches'), urban life ('Waiting For The 7:18') and bad sex ('Kreuzberg') should give them the ‘serious band’ credentials they crave.


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