Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City

By on Monday, 19th November 2007 at 2:06 am

Bloc Party - A Weekend in the CityOne of the strongest albums of the year, Bloc Party have just re-released their “A Weekend in the City” collection with the addition of “Flux”, their new single. The collection was originally released in February of this year, and quickly launched Kele Okereke, Russell Lissack, Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong to superstardom, building on their debut, “Silent Alarm”. A distinctly different sound, the lyrics have much more depth than the oblique nature of their debut, with Kele providing his view on the wrongs of 21st Century London, post September 11th and July 7th.

Starting off with “Song for the Clay (Disappear here)”, you initially worry that they’ve gone down the ever-increasingly popular “rock opera” route, with incredible theatrics akin to My Chemical Romance (though distinctly better pulled off). Thankfully though, “Hunting for Witches” soon appears which puts us into the right vein for the album. Electronic bleeps and interference make a return, akin to “Positive Tension” from “Silent Alarm”, and make the song much stronger, with a frantic strumming that reflects in the urgency of the lyrics: “The Daily Mail says the enemy’s among us, Taking our women and taking our jobs.”

“Waiting for the 7:18” rolls around, with the dreariness of the morning commute and a soul-destroying job morphing into plans to escape to Brighton for the weekend. Quickly followed by the disco-stomp of first single, “The Prayer”, which received some of Bloc Party’s first major US radio airplay, with its instantly memorable hook “Tonight make me unstoppable / I will charm, I will slice, I will dazzle with my wit”. Even a whole year after its initial release, it is still an amazing single that is sure to get everyone and anyone dancing.

“Uniform” is a rant against the growth of globalisation and lack of individualism: “All the young people looked the same / Wearing their masks of cool and indifference / Commerce dressed up as rebellion”, and is one of the stand out tracks of the album. The outspoken-ness of this is duplicated in “Where is home?”, which appears to be a rant about Kele’s heritage, and the growth of racism in the UK: “In every headline we are reminded that this is not home for us / Second generation blues or points of view not listened to / Different worlds and different rules of allegiance”. It soon grows into a stronger rant, with Kele commenting “I want to stamp on the face of every young policeman today / and break the fingers of every old judge”. These two songs formed much of the publicity around the album release, showing Bloc Party as a 21st Century force who are very much in touch with today’s issues.

Bloc Party's Kele OkerekeThis album re-release also includes a stunning DVD of their set at this year’s Reading Festival, which was held at the end of August and saw Bloc Party playing to around 160,000 people as the sun goes down. It was a homecoming of sorts, with much of the crowd holding out in blistering temperatures that was more akin to Arizona than central England as temperatures soared to close to 30C

Normally when a band re-releases an album with an extra track the whole collection suffers as a whole, however “A Weekend in the City” is much stronger for the addition of “Flux”. Fast paced, Kele is again agonising about the future of society: “We must talk about our problems / We are in a state of flux”. After this brutal disco-thump, “Sunday” brings the album to a slower pace, savouring a relaxing Sunday morning in central London, waking up next to someone loved and reflecting on the previous night’s adventures. “SXRT” starts off incredibly slowly; almost sleep-inducingly so before bringing the album to a crashing crescendo.

Kele sang “I will outshine them all” on “The Prayer”, and with this re-release of “A Weekend in the City” Bloc Party sure do an amazing job of outshining their competition, leaving them looking like pale imitations.

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