Bloc Party takes listeners on enjoyable metropolitan tour

Ben Breier

Bloc Party is a band that has benefited from one key factor that several indie bands lack: Saturation. After the release of debut effort Silent Alarm, the group’s hit single “Banquet” could be found everywhere. From movie scores to MTV promos, the track was just around the corner.

Sophomore records are often as disappointing as back-to-school supplies are for presents on Hannakuah, but Weekend in the City bucks the trend. As an opening track, “Song For Clay” serves as a pretty introduction that doesn’t deviate too far from the softer side of stereotypical Bloc Party. But on “Hunting For Witches,” a jarring series of bloops and bleeps frightens the listener before propelling into a perfectly surprising overdrive guitar. From the second the guitar picks up, it’s very clear that the band wants “Hunting for Witches” to be the new “Banquet.”

Bloc Party

Weekend in the City

Released on Wichita Records

Stater rating (out of five): ????

And if that’s the case, let it be known that “Waiting For the 7:18” serves as an updated version of “So Here We Are.” Nevermind the fact lead singer Keke Okereke opens the song with chilling vocals solely on top of arctic and delicate xylophone, this track uses the same tricks with tension as its predecessor.

Okereke’s lyrics are incredibly revealing. It sounds like he’s publicly declaring his homosexuality on a couple of songs, but he does so without being glaringly obvious. On “I Still Remember,” Okereke sings “Every park bench screams your name —ÿI kept your tie.”

Although the record boasts an impressive-sounding roster of music, too many of the songs sound like throwbacks to old Bloc Party songs. And while it’s good for a band to retain the flavor that defines it, it’s important for bands to attempt to deviate. Silent Alarm showed Bloc Party’s incredible range, but Weekend in the City merely updates some old classics.

Even if the updates are good, Weekend in the City needs some appetizing side dishes. As the record stands, it’s an Emeril Lagasse all-you-can-eat buffet, but he’s only serving chicken.

Contact ALL editor Ben Breier at [email protected].