Bloc Party – A Weekend In The City

bloc partySometimes an album’s cover art and title help convey the mood or theme’s that are contained on an album. Bloc Party’s new album A Weekend In The City has a beautiful, sparkling photo of a motorway overpass on the cover and this is very much an album about cities; the places, the people, the situations. And like Calexico and Sigur Ros, the music reflects the landscape; a nocturnal sheen coupled with electronic beats. It’s also a record that’s more “heart on sleeve” than their previous album “Silent Alarm”. In that album a lyric like “As if to say/he doesn’t like chocolate,” (“Helicopter”) was common; here on A Weekend In The City the opening line on “Song For Clay (Disappear Here)” is “I am trying to be heroic/in an age of modernity” accompanied by a sombre piano.

This is a different album sonically from it’s predecessor; the spiky, angular guitars and Matt Tong’s staggering drumming have been toned down but only to make way of a more full-bodied sound. Vocals are double tracked to give them more strength and keyboards and synths flesh out the songs more. “Hunting For Witches” has a glitchy, electronic opening that develops into a really strong riff. Lead single “the Prayer” is a hymnnal ode to going out drinking with some pounding drums, “Waiting For the 7:18” has a great dance beat with string stabs. It should sound like a total mish-mash, but it all fits together. “Uniform” kicks into another gear half way through, “I am a martyr/I just need a cause” Kele sings as if it’s the most important thing to him.

Towards the end of the album, the mood is a lot more upbeat: “On” is a tracks that moves forward with a real sonic weight,  “I Still Remember” is a glistening love song.  “Sunday”has a great line it it, “I’ll love you in the morning/when you’re still hungover”. A Weekend In The City is a very different album from Silent Alram, it’s not as urgent or as raw. That’s been replaced with an much more straightforward lyrical approach, and a well-rounded sound that’s not as dependant on the guitar onslaught of old. All that remains to be seen is where Bloc Party go from here.

Bloc Party – The Prayer:

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