Boomkat Product Review:
Having scored themselves NME’s coveted Album Of The Year Award for their debut, Silent Alarm, Bloc Party now find themselves at that most difficult of junctures: the cusp of releasing a follow-up. A Weekend In The City is the band’s shot at a quasi-concept album; a set of songs preoccupied with the everyday machinations of metropolitan life and the weight of modern times in general (check the references to dismal escapism via sudoku). “East London is a vampire / it sucks the joy right out of me” intones Kele Okereke, condensing the sense of amorphous ennui that hangs over the entire album – lyrically at least. The music here is every bit the taut, high-energy follow-up you’d hope for, with just enough tweaking and development to make it sound like an advancement in the band’s sound. This is demonstrated by the electronically-enhanced chicanery of ‘Hunting For Witches’, a song that sounds like it might be a rewired version of something from the band’s first album. In fact, you might even say that one of the principal influences on this record is actually the Silent Alarm Remixed package. It’s certainly good to see Bloc Party moving beyond the constraints of the choppy telecaster jerk-outs of old. The string plucks and xylophone verse accompaniment in ‘Waiting For The 7.18’ set against the doubled-up space echo guitar solo sees Bloc Party incorporating new sound sources into that familiar jagged guitar assault, a theme which is continued with ‘On’, a kind of bulked-up string-heavy ballad, given gravitas by a typically propulsive Matt Tong beat. It’s lead single, ‘The Prayer’ that steals the show, however. It’s the song that most succinctly encapsulates the sort of direction the band should be headed in. Loaded with intrusive electronics and discordant guitar histrionics, it nevertheless doesn’t scrimp on anthemic choruses. A more than worthy successor to their debut.