A WEEKEND IN THE CITY [Vinyl]
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22 of 24 found the following review helpful:
Bold New Directions Feb 11, 2007
Wow, you've got to hand it to these guys for such a bold move. Gone are the stiff, jerky rhythms; spastic guitar riffs; and terse shouts that dominate their indie-rock scene and catalyzed their rise to fame on singles like "Helicopter."
Gone, in fact, are the singles altogether. Instead, Bloc Party has given birth to what has, in the new millenium, become a rare specimen: an album that's meant to be heard collectively, as an album. But doesn't this fly in the face of the music industry's current assumptions? With the event of file sharing, the development of the Ipod, etc. isn't there much less of a market for this kind of thing? Evidently, Bloc Party doesn't care a tick.
And after all, youthful non-conformity seems to be the spirit of the record. Its words are a stew of strung out reflections, accusations, and critiques covering love, libertinism, political fear mongering, drugs, and of course apathetic mall-going drones. Musically, it rejects the formula of the band's (former?) peers, which derive from the late 70s'-early 80s' alternative bands like Gang of Four, the Talking Heads, and (early) Cure. Instead it goes for the theatrical, taking cues from, for example, eighties metal bands (don't try to tell me you couldn't mistake the intro to "Hunting for Witches" for a techno remix of "Crazy Train"); also early 90's alternative and some of the more recent post-punk, screamo, and neo-prog groups come to mind. All this, of course, on top of jungle beats and an overarching punk rock sensibility.
Perhaps a more subtle and unlikely though is a hint of Bruce Springsteen (Just hear me out!) on songs like "I Still Remember" and "Sunday." Here we have two songs with lyrics about being young, looking at society from the margins, and being in love. They are sung over persistent, chime arpeggios, wall-of-sound instrumentation, and steady break beats. I can't help but think I'm hearing the dance club version of "Born to Run." And don't get me wrong, I think it works, especially thanks to Okereke's persistent themes of disaffectedness and dissent throughout the album.
Perhaps, as we move further along into the decade, the indie rock scene is ready to make this kind of album a success. Or maybe it came too early for the tipping point and will fade into obscurity. Either way, I think it took strength, sincerity, and creativity to put out something like this, and for my money, it's a good record.
12 of 14 found the following review helpful:
Lyrical Excellence and Song: Thank you Bloc Party Feb 07, 2007
By Mark Wampler
This album is a huge leap ahead for fans of Bloc Party. It is a concept album based on the isolation and lonliness that a big city brings, especially to twentysomethings. Kele Okereke, the bands lead singer has not left room for ambiguity in his lyrics, and that makes them all the more powerful. Bloc Party has created a record, not just a hit song which is so prominent in Top 40. Hats off to Bloc Party for superb songwriting and deliberate and meaningful lyrics.
4 of 4 found the following review helpful:
Second album... The gamble? Feb 22, 2007
By David Foskin
"SneakyGoblin on XBL"
Bloc Party is an indie rock quartet from South London. Their debut album Silent Alarm was released in 2005, and was very well received by consumers and critics alike. With the spotlight on them, how would they respond with their sophomore effort?
This album definitely has a more somber tone than their previous one. Bloc Party has chosen to describe life in London as the main topic for this album. Occasionally they mention a few high points, but most of what they describe are feelings of loneliness and depression. They touch on some pretty heavy topics, including homophobia and racism. It makes for an album that is much less brash than Silent Alarm. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad. There are several good tracks on the album, such as The Prayer, I Still Remember, and Waiting for the 7:18. The biggest issues with the album are that the riffs performed sound very, very similar from song to song, and the songs themselves seem to follow a very predictable pattern of whispered verses followed by big choruses.
Overall, this is a decent follow-up to their debut, depending on what you're looking for. The mood and topics covered might become a bit too much of a downer for some people, and others who enjoyed their 1st album might be disappointed by the fact that the group seems to be much more predictable on this album. But, if you can get by those issues, there is some solid music to be found.
8 of 10 found the following review helpful:
Badass Album Feb 12, 2007
By A. Gandhi
Silent Alarm was a terrific album but Weekend in the City just seems like a mature step forward. They took their sound in a new direction and it is great. Weekend in the City shows that Bloc Party is going to be an amazing band for a long time.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
A Different Sound? A Better Sound. Mar 29, 2007
By Darth Tel
This is not "Silent Alarm II". Bloc Party (wisely, in my opinion) decided to step in a new direction. Gone are the guitar riffs of "Helicopter" and Matt Tong tones back his trademark stacatto drumming slightly (but still manages to be a complete beast). In are more meaningful lyrics, a deeper, richer and fuller sound, and, above all, a more mature sound. This is definitely a band that is maturing and discovering what it wants to be and sound like, hence the huge differences between the sounds of "Silent Alarm" and "A Weekend in the City". However, do not mistake this difference for weakness. "Weekend" is a strong album and a great album, and hopefully a barometer of what Bloc Party will be doing in the future.
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