BLOC PARTY-A Weekend In The City

It’s a brave move for Bloc Party, releasing an album like this after such a short, sharp, success of a debut. Because ‘A Weekend In The City’ is an altogether darker, deeper, denser and just plain much more difficult affair. Ok, first single ‘The Prayer’ has a block rockin’ beat, pop hooks stolen straight out the Gwen Stefani handbook and some fantastic call-and-response vocals that will make the next tour dates a joy. But then there’s ‘Uniform’ which takes an age to get to its fantastic, metallic beating heart and ‘I Still Remember’ which never fully blooms, content to sigh and heave with understated beauty. And the risks don’t always equal reward either. The skittery, slimy ‘On’ wants to be U2 in a dark bedroom but amounts to airy nothingness and numbers like ‘Song For Clay’ and ‘Sunday’ struggle to come to any sort of peak at all. And that’s all before you add in Kele Okereke’s often empty, clunky lyrics.

This is a brave move for Bloc Party but, while the band are certainly still capable of magic (‘Waiting For The 7.18’ is blessed with a europhic final flourish and ‘Hunting For Witches’ does every single thing right), it’s one that all too rarely captures the edgy excitement of that sensational debut.

KLAXONS- Myths of the Near Future

New Rave is tosh. It just doesn’t mean anything. Especially when the band apparently spearheading the movement dismiss it as a big fat joke and sound like this. ‘Myths Of The Near Future’ is no rave revival; this is a pop record through and through. Ok so first big single ‘Atlantis To Interzone’ bumps and thumps with dance club power and the boys in the band dress like they’ve just tripped out of some 90s disco but there are far cleverer things than any disposable genre name here.

‘Forgotten Works’ is hypnotic lounge music, ‘Golden Skans’ is so full of hooks it will rest right in the front of your head for ages, the schizophrenic angry buzz of ‘Four Horsemen…’ will soothe the pain for anyone still mourning Test Icicles and ‘Magick’ pumps those pop sensibilities through psychedelic noodling with great effect. On top of that though, there are loads of vivid lyrical images of beautiful, odd and arty things like sequin-covered swans, mirrored statues and dying heroes to really trip you out.

This is a debut that tweaks the shouty, day-glo menace of the Klaxon’s first musical forays into a truly impressive form, pulling multi-layered, shape-shifting, dark and sultry songs from the colourful mess. It’s an album that constantly promises something special just around the corner and most of the time it pays off in style. It’s not new rave but it is really, really good.