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.
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