Sound — 8
I'd like to start by reinforcing the point that I have actually listened to this album, a task that seems a little beyond reviewers before me. Sophomore syndrome, the magical effect that seems to plague every band as they attempt to follow up the 11 or so tracks that placed them in the ear of the public to begin with. On first listening one could easily shake their head and run riot with disapproval when placed side-by-side with it's older sibling Silent Alarm. However, more than a year has passed since A Weekend in the City failed to reach our expectations, but then are our expectations always properly placed to begin with? This is less raw that Silent Alarm, more polished in every shape way and form, but the what may easily be mistaken as lack of emotion and energy, is the band merely demonstrating it's capacity from control and maturity on a musical level. The track listing splits the album into two very different approaches. The first half of the album retains the energy and excitement that has defined Bloc Party for so long. As the snare drum enters Song For Clay the hairs on the back our neck raise slowly as it becomes evident that this is the Bloc Party we love and know. However it also draws to our attention that the hooks are gone, 'catchiness' has been replaced by close to 5 minutes of spectacular song writing and production, and until we reach track 8 the album retains an electronically dance charged progression. We then reach the brick wall that is Kreuzberg, as it it becomes obvious that ones breath needs to be caught somewhere in the 57 minutes of this album. Kreuzberg & I Still Remember epitomise the entire point of maturity and control that Bloc Party have found within themselves to release. Upbeat, mid-paced songs that never fail to progress beyond their means or needs, highlighting that simplicity can be as effective as the sonic soundscape that has graced our ears so often.
Lyrics — 9
A Weekend in the City, as wrongly pointed out by others commentators is not about Love. It is about growing up, living and existing within todays society in London, and rarely offers a glimmer of hope, unfortunately another point other commentators have failed to pick on. Briefly, Song For Clay reveals the inner determination to live up to societies expectations of what our appearances should be, and again provides a foundation for the rest of the album, with an ever increasing realisation that the tone is one of discontent and unhappiness of the pressures of society. Hunting For Witches of course highlights the sense of fear and discontent that has thrived in London since July 2005, reinforcing the media and the governments influence of our interpretations of those around us on a daily basis. Uniform is the insight into losing ones mind, through the pressure of societies influences. It acts as the voice of discontent and emotion from the youth of today and how obvious pressures may take their toll on the inner psyche. Existence makes up the fundamentals of this album, often more at times more personal than others, for example Kreuzberg, however lyrically this album is relevant, charged and more of than none, spot on.
Overall Impression — 8
This album is not Silent Alarm, nor is it the follow on many of us expected. However, after 15 months of listening this is a more than worthwhile follow up from a great band.