The follow-up to their smash debut, "Silent Alarm", is every bit as bright, powerful, and catchy, with the addition of more muscle, attitude, depth, and a bit of polish courtesy of their producer, Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol). Inspired by lead singer Kele Okereke's interest in what he calls "the living noise of a metropolis", this record captures every detail of daily life in a modern city from the ebullient to the mundane. From the quiet desolation of commuting to casual sex, from going out on a Friday night to the long ride home early in the morning, these are songs desperate to understand the meaning that pulses under the moments of our every day.
Bloc Party may have arrived in an outbreak of like-minded British bands set upon shooting holes in the Union Jack while knocking out a sharp post-punk soundtrack, but it didn't take long for the foursome to set itself apart from the pack. Fronted by Nigerian-born singer Kele Okereke, the group's 2005 debut, Silent Alarm
, soared as much on crystal ambition as it did on ridiculously danceable pop melodies. This follow-up is darker, more cluttered, and harder to digest. That doesn't make it less striking. Exploring themes of racism, terrorism, sexuality, addiction, and death--the usual fodder for a cosmopolitan three-day bender--Weekend in the City
is an album that plays to Bloc Party's strengths: tempo-shifting rhythms, inventive art-rock arrangements, and lyrics that twist and turn on a whim. "The Prayer" and "Uniform" are particular standouts, capturing moments when Okereke lets self-importance fade and majestic beats take charge. --Aidin Vaziri