The weekend in the city that Bloc Party envisions on its sophomore album is ruled by party-ready riffs and thumping beats. But beneath the pop-punk surface of A Weekend in the City lurks a sort of disheveled, drug-fueled dystopia, giving the melodies a much-needed edge.
Fans will appreciate that the follow-up to Silent Alarm never veers too far from its predecessor's path, with frontman Kele Okerere's regal, slightly overwrought vocals coating some of the most soaring guitar work in rock.
But while Bloc Party's lauded 2005 debut was a fast and furious high — I listened to it constantly for weeks then burned out — Weekend never quite kicks in like it should. For the rest of my take and to hear a track off the album, read more
There are a number of welcome surprises in this set of songs: "Prayer" kicks off with a chorus of stomps, handclaps, and staccato tribal chants before going into the central plea: "Tonight make me unstoppable / and I will charm / I will slice / I will dazzle / I will outshine them all." The counterpart to that sentiment might be "Sunday," where whispered organs and chimey guitars draw the sort of day when you have to wake up in time to "catch the afternoon."
But while the album is chock full of hooks, it failed to really hook me, even after multiple listens. On one hand, it's grandiose and thoughtful, but even clever tracks like "Uniform" — a brooding ballad that blames MTV for lessons in sulking — the big sounds are also overly simple. I should, however, throw out a caveat here, which is that I didn't fully appreciate Silent Alarm until I saw Bloc Party live in NYC. For now, listen to "Sunday" below or stream the album yourself and tell me what you think.