A Weekend In The City
REVIEW BY: Melanie Love
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/12/2007
If you were hoping for another slice of hyperactive dance rock à la Silent Alarm, you’re out of luck. The album still feels like the same Bloc Party with its sweeping anthems, but their once-signature jittery bursts of guitar have been sidelined in favor of intricate layers and crackling atmosphere.
Themes of detachment even amid a perpetually bustling metropolis permeate the entire album; opener “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” combines driving drumbeats and bombastic production courtesy of Garrett “Jacknife” Lee (U2, Snow Patrol) with lyrics of nihilistic disillusionment (“I am trying to be heroic, in an age of modernity…but in my heart I am lukewarm, nothing really touches me”) inspired largely by Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero.
Diverging from the charming eclecticism of Silent Alarm, A Weekend in the City achieves its own unique strength from a more realized, cohesive vision. Ensuing songs “Hunting For Witches” and lead single “The Prayer” sizzle with sinister energy. The former implicates the media in perpetuating xenophobia while “The Prayer” lends a nod to TV on the Radio with its texturized synths and frantic drums.
“The Uniform” is the album’s centerpiece, an epic indictment of our MTV generation. The song slowly builds from hushed guitars to earnest pleas for something to hold on to: “I am a martyr, I just need a motive…I’m a believer, I just need a cause.”
But despite all that hard-edged cynicism, flashes of emotion always manage to rise above the bleakness and despair; while “I Still Remember,” which illustrates a burgeoning relationship between two schoolboys, is a subtle kiss-off to rumors dogging lead singer Kele Okereke’s sexuality. What truly resounds in the track is its elegant, vivid lyrics, sentimental without ever being trite.
A Weekend in the City is a brilliant album despite its flaws; it still leaves Bloc Party room to grow and improve, to flesh out a tendency towards over-seriousness, and to build on the promise here of sense of possibility and humanity amid desolation.
|B right now - but I'm certain this one's going to grow on me eventually.|